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Bakery owners expect production slowdown in Eid over ‘flour shortage’

By Dana Al Emam - Jun 29,2015 - Last updated at Jun 29,2015

Around 1,850 tonnes of subsidised flour are consumed daily in the country, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Bakery Owners Association expects a slowdown in production during Eid Al Fitr, citing “insufficient” supplies of subsidised flour during Ramadan, while the Trade Ministry says allocations will return to normal in the two days before the feast.

Trade Minister Maha Ali said reducing subsidised flour allocations to bakeries during Ramadan aims to minimise waste during the month due to a drop in demand.

Every Ramadan the Trade Ministry’s subsidised-flour supplies to bakeries drop by 25 per cent, as the long fasting hours decrease the demand for bread, Bakery Owners Association President Abdul Ilah Hamawi told The Jordan Times on Monday.

“The drop in supplies is also due to an increase in demand for other types of bread and sweets made with non- subsidised flour that are popular in Ramadan,” he said.

However, the demand for subsidised flour stays the same in underprivileged areas, Hamawi noted.

“This means that many bakeries would still use the entire amount of subsidised flour,” he said, adding that the ministry’s control committees have witnessed this during their field visits to bakeries across the Kingdom.

Nonetheless, the ministry “refuses” to provide bakeries with the “needed” full share, which leads many of them to close as soon as they use up the available amounts of flour, Hamawi claimed.

“It is the right of the bakeries to receive the amount of subsidised-flour that they need daily without any deductions from their future allocations,” he stressed.

However, in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Monday, the minister said the 25 per cent drop in allocations does not include bakeries that consume eight bags of flour daily, and the ministry follows up on the work of bakeries to ensure the availability of flour.

To secure their needs of bread during Eid Al Fitr, the Muslim feast marking the end of the fasting month, consumers tend to buy larger amounts in advance.

“The increase in demand during the last two days of Ramadan will complicate the problem and might lead to many bakeries closing down during Eid,” he noted, expecting the issue to worsen if the ministry does not respond to the needs of bakeries.

But Ali said bakeries would receive extra amounts of subsidised flour to cover their needs during the holiday. 

 

Around 1,850 tonnes of subsidised flour are consumed daily in the country, according to the ministry. 

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