By Yusef Taylor and Edrissa Jallow
Bakeries around the Greater Banjul Area including Tallingding, Coastal Road and Bijilo have experienced a hike in the price of flour causing a shortage of bread today 12th January 2022.
The bread shortage comes only three weeks after the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration intervened to announce that an “agreement has been reached with Nessim Trading Company Limited for the price of Ferry brand to be restored to D1,425 per bag, Bridge brand at D1,385 and Golden Brown maintained at D1,350 with immediate effect.”
The Government’s press release was published on the 14th of December 2021 just a week after the 4th December 2021 Presidential Election. After learning of the bread scarcity affecting the country Gainako sent its reporters to Tallingding, Coastal Road and Bijilo to speak to bakeries and shop attendants selling bread.
According to the bakers our reporters spoke to there has been a scarcity of bread for two days, especially traditionally baked Tapalapa. When our reporter spoke to a baker named Alhagie Sheriff Jallow in Tallingding, near the cemetery he confirmed that the increase in the price of flour has presented a challenge to his business.
According to Mr Jallow “if Nessim Trading Company and Gambia Milling Company didn’t produce flour the retailers in the markets will sell it at any price depending the availability of the flour they have. And that is between D1,600 to D1,650 when we use to have it D1,440”.
Mr Jallow sells traditionally baked Tapalapa bread twice a day, once in the morning and evening to earn a living. According to Mr Jallow, he has not sold bread for the past three days now due to flour scarcity and he is facing difficulties with his employees at the bakery.
“I’m a family man if I’m not working how can I pay my employees and feed my family, look now my employees are trying to venture into something else and leave the Job because they can’t be three days without working and paid because I use to pay them daily,” said Mr Jallow.
Speaking to Lamarana Bah, another Bakery owner who sells Tapalapa every morning in his compound in Badjie Estate he confirmed that he has not sold Tapalapa since Tuesday because of a lack of flour.
“I stopped producing since Tuesday morning because the price of flour has increased from D1,450 to D1,600 which I can’t afford anymore and I suppose to buy firewood too which cost D300, how can I bake bread and sell it at D6 to bread distributors”, he asked.
Mr Bah said he visited two shops located at Coastal Road to buy flour but he could not afford the price of D1,600 for a bag of flour.
At Bijilo our reporter visited a number of Bakeries and Corner Shops where he was couldn’t find bread for sale. One of the corner shops visited next to the former Anti-Crime Unit headquarters was closed however, the second shop states that they did not receive their usual supply of bread today.
Another shop keeps located at Muhammed Jah Junction noted that they had a smaller supply of bread and no Talapala was sold to them by their supplier. They had sold all their bread by the time our reporter meet them at around 11 am in morning.
At least three bakeries were visited by our reporter in Bijilo. All the Bakeries had sold out all their bread by the time our reporter visited at around 11am in the morning. One of the bakeries noted that they had sufficient flour in stock and would be operating as per normal with additional demand from the surrounding communities who lack bread in the small corner shops. One shopkeeper noted that they were going to find flour as they could have run out of flour for the next morning supply of bread.