Can Man Live by Bread Alone?!
Khartoum -- Economists demand government solve the problem of hike in wheat prices by intensifying, indigenizing agricultural renaissance and allocating part of revenues for agricultural research to ensure high quality productivity and employ international market experience in this connection. The demand comes following recent crisis and shortage of bread these days; in addition to minimizing bread weight by some bakers. Sudan’s annual consumption of wheat accounts for two million tons, according to economists; however, plans by the Ministry of Agriculture don’t exceed a million ton while the country is in need of additional million ton, considering wheat constitutes major food nationwide compared to 2 million tons of sorghum, whose gross production accounts for five millions – meaning three million tons surplus.
Meanwhile, the Union of Chamber of Trade has made reservation about circular issued by the Ministry of Industry specifying the weight and prices of bread, arguing that pricing is the responsibility of states not the ministry.
“Subsidy on wheat does not go to Sudanese citizens but to farmers in America and Canada,” deputy chairman of union of chambers of industry said.
Earlier the union, in press statements, expressed satisfaction with efforts Seen Flour Mills had made to contain bread crisis where the company eventually was able to bridge gap by 85 per cent without having to change flour prices. These efforts contributed tremendously to stabilize bread prices at all bakeries.
The deputy chairman of bakers union said that way-out of present bread crisis lies in changing Sudanese consumer culture, saying that Sudan is the only country that is still making bread containing wheat 80 percent, citing Egypt’s experiment in blending wheat and maize, where such blended flour is directly distributed by the state to bakers at supported prices for poor families. On the other hand, crops prices in states remained stable except for wheat. “In my opinion there are alternatives to bread that can be turned to within the framework of austerity measures the ministry of agriculture has recently announced,” said the deputy chairman of bakers’ union. People can find other alternatives to bread instead of ongoing arguments and conferences and press reports which are making a mountain out of a small hill as the English common saying goes: man cannot live by bread alone.
By Shadia Basheri, 17/07/2012