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Bread price gaan up!

GeneralBread price gaan up!

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 3, 2024

Before the publication of this issue of Amandala, many Belizeans who would normally be going to their local bakery with the exact amount of money, will need to go back home for some extra change when they discover the price for the 16 oz loaf of sliced bread has increased by 35 cents, along with other variations.

Talks between the bakers and the Government of Belize about increasing the price were on the table for almost over a year, with the bakers planning to increase it by a whopping 75 cents; however, GOB stopped them by providing a 25-cent subsidy per loaf to keep the retail price at $1.75 and the wholesale price at $1.50, which it had been since 2008.

The new price for the bakers is due to the increased cost of ingredients such as flour, baking supplies, labor, and plastic bags, making it difficult for them to see a profit. Before the start of the weekend, there were reports that the bakers had said “enough is enough”, and had decided to raise the price of the 16 oz loaf of bread by 35 cents, starting today, Monday, June 3.

“The government has allocated some funds for a subsidy, because they have been asking to increase the price of the only bread that’s regulated, which is a 16-ounce sliced bread. We have been in dialogue with them, but it is something that, well, is unsustainable. The government cannot continue to give this subsidy,” said Servulo Baeza, CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“Nobody wants to see a price increase; but in this case, I must say that it is inevitable. We continue dialoguing with the bakers, but they are showing us an uncertain claim that they would want, they need to increase it even more; but at this time, the government was not in a position to grant that,” CEO Baeza added.

Amandala took a stroll at a local bakery and confirmed that the price had increased. The “Pullman”, which is considered the “poor man’s bread” for being affordable at its low cost, made the jump from $1.75 to $2.10 per loaf. Also joining Pullman is hot dog bread, which went from $2.75 to $2.85 a pack, and bread rolls from $3.25 to $3.35 a pack.

“The bakers were asking for an increase. They were asking more than the 35 cents, I must say. They were asking for 75 cents, and Cabinet approved an increase of 35 cents, taking the consideration that we have been giving them a subsidy of 25 cents, and knowing that, you know, the trend and prices of certain things continue to go up. So, we said, okay, we’re going to give, I think they need to [be given] a little bit more. And so that’s why 35 cents were approved,” Baeza said.

According to CEO Baeza, the Cabinet signed off on a Statutory Instrument (SI) earlier in May, and the decision was issued to the public after the Cabinet meetings. However, no notice of any SI being signed was announced to the public.

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