The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has expressed its displeasure on the high cost of baking materials that keep forcing members to close shops. This happened during the association’s first NEC meeting at Sagamu where the newly elected executives had appealed to the Federal Government to come to their aid.
Speaking at the meeting, National President of the association, Dominic Daniel Turi, said, “we are making efforts to collaborate with government so that they can look into issues affecting bakery operation in the country, especially the high cost of flours, sugar and other baking ingredients. According to him, “we used to buy flour for N8,000 but now it is N12,000. The price of sugar was N6,000 but now is N20,000; butter was selling at N6,000, it is now N12,000. So, we are appealing to government to assist the baking industry.
Mr Turi said further that the economic recession is seriously affecting the baking industry. “In the northern part of the country, 65% of the bakery industry has closed down and the remaining few is now baking doughnut”.
Mr Turi encouraged the members to work hard, saying, “we all have responsibility to ensure that we work hard in building a sustainable industry in the association”.
In addition, National Secretary of the Association, Honourable Jude Okafor, said, “the association has taken cognisance of the multiple challenges rocking bakery industry, such as increment in the prices of baking materials and ingredients and promised that the association would explore every necessary avenue to assist its members remain in business.
Mr Okafor promised that in no distance time the newly elected executives would start delivering their mandate to the association.
“Actually, it has been a very worrisome development since the recession started in the country. The association has taken steps to cushion the effect of high cost of raw materials. We have asked our members to increase prices of bread between 10 and 20% since last year. But along the line prices continue to soar and today most of our members have shut down. We have written to the Federal Government to intervene with some palliative measures to cushion the effect of high cost of bread production which is stable food in Nigeria. We have equally asked the FG to provide the association with starter pack of bake sure improver, which is the improver that has helped us to add 10 and 20% cassava flour without having any problem with the bread. Cassava inclusion has helped in reducing the cost of wheat. If starter packs of bake sure improver is made available, it will enable us add 10 to 20% cassava flour which will go a long way in reducing the cost of production instead of using only flour for bread.
In his contribution, former caretaker chairman now BOT chairman of the association, Sir Simon Abanulor, said, “ the economic recession has affected everything especially bakery industry because 75% of the raw material is imported. Bakers should exercise patience and try their best to remain in business believing that the economy would improve in due course”.