‘I no fit afford bread for my family again’

Sake of di constant increase in di price of bread many pipo no dey eat bread again because dem no fit afford am.

Mallam Ado Yahaya, a retiree wey dey stay for Kano for northwest Nigeria, tell BBC Pidgin say e don abandon bread for im breakfast menu long time ago because of di way di price dey go up.

Di father of nine wey retire from goment work for 2020 say if e wan buy bread for im family everyday e need to spend at least N2000 wey go make am N60,000 in a month.

“Dat na why we no dey chop bread for morning again because of di way dem dey always increase price, my monthly pension no fit afford bread everyday so we don switch to oda affordable food.”

“Di last time wey I chop bread na one small one I buy and I allow my children to go school first before I eat am.” E tok.

From Monday 27 June, 2022 bread makers say dem go increase di price of bread by about 20%.

Dis one mean say di jumbo bread wey dey weigh 1.5kg wey bakers use to sell N800 to retailers to sell at N900 now dem go sell am N900 to retailers for dem to sell am minimum of N1000.

Di sliced bread wey be 750g wey dem used to sell N400 to retailers now dem go sell am N450 for dem to sell at N500 then di smaller size wey dem use to sell N130, go be N150 for retailers to resell.

Na so di Chairman of Bakers and Caterers Association for Rivers State Chidi Orlu tell BBC Pidgin.

Mallam Ado Yahaya

Mallam Ado Yahaya don begin look for alternatives as im no fit afford to buy bread sake

Why di constant increase in price of bread?

Dis no be di only time bakers don increase di price of bread as over di past few months di price of bread don see some changes and increase.

Orlu say di main reason wey make dem dey increase di price of bread na because of di increase in di price of di raw materials wey dem dey take bake bread like flour, sugar, butter, yeast plus di issue of poor power supply to run di machines.

“Wetin come make am worse na di increase in di price of diesel becos now, diesel dey almost out of reach. Most bakeries for Port Harcourt and Rivers State dey run on diesel so you can imagine.” Im tok.

How Russia/Ukraine war take affect di price of bread

Di war wey dey happen between Russia and Ukraine also get hand for dis bread matter.

Chidi Orlu say dis na because dem dey import more than 90% of di materials dem dey use bake bread from Ukraine.

“More than 90% of wheat we dey use come from oda countries like Ukraine, so as di Russia- Ukraine war start, since we no fit get supply from Ukraine, efforts dey on to see weda we fit begin import wheat from India but you know say India get large population so dem need goment to goment approval before dem fit sell to odas and dis dey affect di process.

For us to buy from Canada and Australia wia dem dey produce high quality wheat, e dey very expensive. Na high quality but na higher cost so all dis dey contribute to di high cost of bread.”

Any alternatives to wheat?

Di Bakers chairman say dem get di alternatives of using cassava and sweet potatoes wey go reduce di costs and also improve di quality of di bread but na di political will to pursue am be di issue.

E observe say before di Jonathan administration comot for office, di cassava replacement for wheat effort bin don start and dem bin dey do 10% cassava and 90% wheat flour but since di Buhari administration take over, no commitment to dat policy so now dem dey do 100% wheat.

E add say oda alternatives dey like to use 20% sweet potato to apply to di wheat flour wey go get a better result because sweet potato no get gluten wey wheat get, but all dis requires goment direct investment.

“All ova di world, goment dey subsidise wheat farming and goment dey directly involved because na very important item for food production but no be so for Nigeria.

Dem no dey encourage sweet potato farming, dem no dey encourage cassava farming as dis na di substitutes. But you no fit do 100% cassava or sweet potato so you still need wheat farming. So if you no fit get local wheat you must import.”

Baked bread

Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria
Sake of high costs, many bakeries don close down

Challenges wey dey face bread makers

Chidi Orlu list some of di challenges wey dey face bread makers to include:

  • Lack of local production of wheat. Orlu say wheat dey do well for North-eastern Nigeria but di security challenge dey affect dem.

E add say, “We know say goment make effort but from our investigations di money go into di pockets of politicians not di real wheat farmers. If you wan feed your citizens well you must do local wheat farming and give di farmers some leverage and subsidise.

  • Heavy taxation. Orlu say Nigeria still dey operate 15% wheat importation levy wen oda countries dey remove taxes to make sure say dem feed dia citizens

“If goment wan help, make dem comot dat 15% tax levy and find way to subsidise di bakers directly or give dem incentives to bring down di price of wheat and oda baking materials.”

  • Alleged Profiteering by millers. Di Bakers chairman say dem dey suspect say di wheat millers dey take advantage of di crises for di country to profiteer and make excess profit.

“For di last financial statement of one local millersdeclare over two billion naira (N2billion) profit in one year while many bakeries dey close down and you know di implications of dat one.

As bakeries close down, dem go lay off workers, dis go increase unemployment wey go also increase security challenge so na difficult situation.”

Sliced bread

Getty Images
Jumbo size price go cost minimum of N1000 with di new price increase

Wetin be di solution?

Di main solution according to Chidi Orlu na for Goment to encourage and increase local farming of wheat, give di right farmers di right seedlings, right machines and monitor di programme.

“Wheat farming dey so sensitive for any country to leave to di forces of demand and supply or private ventures wey wan make profit.

Goment must subsidise am and make sure say di subsidy go to di right pipo and get short term and long term plan for am.”

E add say local farming go also reduce importation and free foreign exchange for oda tins.

Also, e say increase cassava farming especially di variety wey dem fit use for breadmaking and encourage millers to blend di cassava flour with di wheat flour for dia factories and di same for dat of sweet potato.

All dis im say need goment intervention as individuals no fit do all dis as e deycapital intensive and technical.

Also give incentives to bakeries to boost di working capital so dem fit continue to stay in business as many don close and many odas dey run below dia capacity.

“If you use N5million working capital before Covid-19 to do business, now you need about N15million to do di same volume you bin dey do before.

Many bakeries don close and di few wey dey run dey work below installed capacity so di cost of running di business and di returns don affect di business.

Dis support to Bakers go help reduce di impact as well as reduce di cost of bread as we dey in a crises and need urgent intervention.”

E add make goment also chook eye too for flour millers so dem no go dey increase di price anyhow as dat na di major cost impact dem dey suffer, along with improvement in power supply and diesel issue as na basically Goment and policy matters