By Mike Adeyemi
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), has said its members have began closing their bakeries as a result of high cost of production, National Pilot learnt.
Abdulfatai Alaba, Kwara state chapter chairman of AMBCN, made this known in an interview with our reporter on Saturday.
According to him, “the prices of baking ingredients have increased due to the economic situation in the country, adding that bakers in the state are now running at a loss’.
“The prices of flour have continued to rise since wheat importers started to source their foreign exchange from the black market and it is now forcing some bakers to shut down.
“It is unfortunate that the overhead cost in the bakery industry has pushed over 40 per cent of our member insolvent. They are shutting down businesses on daily basis as many more would be forced to close their bakeries due to high cost of raw materials,” the master baker boss said.
He added that the recent closure of bakeries in the state if continues would compound the high rate of unemployment in Kwara State.
“Kwara bakers in the last few years have basically ran at a loss, keeping the business afloat with loans just to remain in the market. But as things stand now, we have no other choice than to shut down.
“We have be battling with a crazy increase in prices of all baking items since the advent of Covid -19. A bag of flour which was formerly N6,500 for a bag, is now selling at N23,000 and a cartoon of Gloria butter which was formerly N12,000 is now selling at N17,000.
“We have been appealing to the millers but they are groaning about the absence and increase of foreign exchange. The only option we have now is either to keep afloat in the business or you exit.
“Also, a bag of sugar now sells between N19, 000 and N20,000 depending on bargaining power against the pre-COVID-19 price of N14,000. The instability of foreign exchange, high cost of diesel and other baking materials are reasons given by flour millers for the hike in the prices of baking materials.
“We have appealed to flour millers and other people involved in the selling of baking materials to reduce their prices but they have not responded. And that is why we are pleading with Federal Government to intervene in this matter by engaging the flour millers and baking material sellers,” he stressed.
By Mike Adeyemi