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Price of Bread & Flour Going Up #556784
04/20/22 09:23 AM
04/20/22 09:23 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,965
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Price of Packed Bread Is Going Up

The price of the sixteen-ounce packed sliced bread will see a significant increase as early as next week. In fact, all bread products will see a dramatic price increase soon. Love News is reliably informed that bakers from across the country have united in asking the government to increase the cap on slice bread from the retail price of one dollar and seventy-five cents to two dollars and fifty cents. Bakers say that for the past two years, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been operating at a loss. Materials such as shortening, plastic, and fuel have dramatically increased their cost of production. The request to have the price increase will go to Cabinet which will then approve or deny the increase. It is likely, however, that the request will be approved. Controller of Supplies for the Supplies and Control Unit Lennox Nicholson spoke to Love News.

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “Some of the leading bakers of the country have formally made a submission to the Government of Belize requesting that the control price for 16 oz bread be adjusted upward. Okay? Now under the regulations, the only variety of bread that is controlled is, in fact, the 16 oz loaf. So there has been a formal request made from these bakers who have come together and have requested that the control price be adjusted and what we’re looking at, as per their request, is how the control price, wholesale, for that product to go from $1.50 to $2.25 which would more or less end up putting the retail price for that product at about $2.50. Now my view, this is the submission that has been made. It is the request that has been made so that has triggered the Supplies Control Unit now to start conduct, carrying out its process of due diligence to verify certain details. Alright? To put together a Cabinet paper for consideration, hopefully, at the next sitting so that we can look into this particular matter and have the Cabinet be apprised of the situation and make a decision on how we move forward as regards the control price. So as you know, one of the main components that feed into the price of producing bread is flour but there are other elements as well. So you’re looking at things such as shortening, the cost of packaging materials, the relative cost of LPG. Alright so you’re talking about fuel that is used to distribute the product countrywide to retail outlets. So all of these factors feed into that final production cost for the bakers and these are the elements that have to be considered when establishing or when considering any adjustment to the control price. So it is that process that has been triggered by our unit and that is what we’re engaged with at this time.”

Now, any news of any price increase is bad and unwelcomed news for consumers, but one baker tells us that for the past two years, revenue has shrunken, limiting their ability to produce. Bakers believe that it’s due time that the price for a pack of sliced bread is increased. While bakers are suggesting an increase to two dollars and fifty cents, the decision is ultimately left to Cabinet.

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “I think it is safe to say that there have been increases. The question is, to what extent? To what degree and to what degree then that would have on the final production costs for the product? You see? So yes the bakers have made certain representation to the Government in terms of the prices of these cost elements but as I indicated to you, we have to actually go into the administrative records and do some verification and this is the information that will be put together when we make that submission to the Cabinet for their consideration.” 

Reporter: Okay so as it stands now, the regular packed sliced bread, the 16 oz sliced bread, that is capped at $1.75?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit:   “That is correct, as of right now there has been no change to the control price of that product. Likewise, there have been no change to the control price for flour, as we speak.”

Reporter: So what if I told you that I went to a Chinese grocer and she charged me $2 for the sliced packed bread?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “For the 16 oz?”

Reporter : For the regular “pack bread.”

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “For the one that is subject to price control?”

Reporter: yes

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: Okay then what you would need to do after we conclude this interview, I’d like you to tell me where that establishment is so that we can take certain measures.”

Reporter : But is it anticipated that some grocery stores would be increasing their price for sliced bread prematurely, expecting that this increase would happen eventually?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “That, there’s a good chance that some person would engage, however, there’s no justification for that. If their purchase costs for the product has not changed as yet. Then they have no justification or no good reason to take up the retail price at this stage. So that is something that we will have to keep an eye on and ensure that we try to maintain some increased presence in the market to look into these matters.”

The last increase in bread products was in 2009.

The Price of Flour Also to Register an Increase in Prices

The price for the sack of flour is also expected to increase in the coming weeks. This should not come as a surprise. In fact, it is surprising that the price didn’t increase weeks ago. That’s not only because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s top producers of wheat and it was long expected that the effects would cause such an increase. Lennox Nicholson of the Supplies and Control Unit says an official request to have the price increased has been made.

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “There has, likewise, been a formal submission now made by the mill requesting increases in the control price of both La Gitana and Bebe Agua and the justification for those are not limited only to the increased cost of wheat but also certain additional costs related to transporting bulk shipment of raw materials to Belize. In other words, what it costs to get the wheat, to ship the wheat to Belize. There have, based on the submissions made, there have been some increases in that regard as well as in the actual purchase costs for the wheat so again, both the bread and the wheat, both submissions are being handled simultaneously and the same process that we’re going through with respect to the control the price for bread, is what we’re doing with respect to La Gitana and Bebe Agua.”

Reporter: So as it stands now, what is the capped price for a pound of flour or a sack of flour?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit:   “In Belize City, we’re looking at .90 c. For La Gitana and .92 c for Bebe Agua.”

Reporter: And the request from the mill would be to increase this to how much?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “In the first instance, 10% increase on that.”

Reporter: So for instance, La Gitana will go from .90 c to .99 c?

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: Thereabouts.”

Reporter … a pound? Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit:   “And again, just to be clear, that is the request that we have on the table.”

Nicholson says that specific matters must be considered carefully to determine by how much the price of the sack of flour should increase.

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “Whether it’s reasonable or not, those are not matters that I would be comfortable making a pronouncement on off the top of my head. We have to be guided by the numbers so there are certain questions that have to be asked. What is the landed cost for wheat now compared to what it was, not only over the last three or four years but what the landed cost for wheat was at the time the existing control price was set. Right? So it takes some doing, in going because it is easy for you to take two or three years and then you see this huge jump in purchase cost for certain commodities, however, recall that the current control price was set based on market conditions in 2011. So we need to carefully examine what the market conditions were at that time because that was the basis of setting the control price at that time. So we need to compare what those market conditions were at that time compared to what they are now. In addition to that, another matter that one has to consider is that we have an increase in the acquisition cost now and as a result of that there is a formal request to adjust the control price upward. We need to look in the interim between 2011 and now and see whether or not there were certain years when the purchase cost for wheat had actually gone down and the control price had not been adjusted downward. So these are matters that need to be weighed carefully and these are some of the elements that would form a part of the submission that we would make to the Cabinet for its deliberation.”

Reporter: Okay but not withstanding Cabinet’s approval, some might say impending approval, because given the COVID pandemic going two years now and given what’s happening in Ukraine, that, for instance, the mill would have a justifiable cause to ask for the increase. What I’m getting at is that the increase for bread and bread products and the increase for flour is imminent. There will be an increase. It’s just how much you will increase. 

Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies, Supplies and Control Unit: “Therein lies the work. That is where the significant consideration comes in because you can’t just take it for granted and say buy X. Whatever is submitted to us, we have to verify.”


Re: Price of Bread & Flour Going Up [Re: Marty] #556839
04/22/22 05:58 AM
04/22/22 05:58 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,965
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Expense of baking bread goes up: GOB regulates price

As inflation continues to affect the country, the cost of baking bread is going up. In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, a loaf of regular bread is currently $3, and the wheat bread is around $4.50, depending on the vendor. Bakers have reportedly been asking the government to increase the price because they are operating at a loss. However, the government’s Supplies and Control Unit informs that the 16-ounce pack of bread is subject to price control, and the cost should not increase. At the same time, the Unit indicated that there had been no increase in the price of flour yet.

In San Pedro, some packs of sliced bread usually exceed 16 ounces in weight, excluding them from the price-controlled items. However, the price has reportedly increased. The Supplies and Control Unit told the media that flour prices have not increased. There is a request to raise flour prices by 10%, but this must be approved by Cabinet before anything is official on this essential product.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Re: Price of Bread & Flour Going Up [Re: Marty] #556960
04/29/22 05:28 AM
04/29/22 05:28 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,965
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Cabinet: No To Increase in Bread Price, But Bakeries Proceed With No Heed

Cabinet met this week and said NO to a proposed increase on the price of a 16 ounce loaf of bread.

But, they can say what they want - because de-facto, in grocery stores, what should the controlled price of $1.75 has already gone up to two dollars and above.

Cabinet says it has instructed the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise Joe Mai to, quote, "engage with the Association of Bakers to ensure other alternatives to minimize the possibility of drastic increases in the price of a 16-ounce pack of bread."

Well, we spoke with him today at another event in Central Farm - and he said with the cost of production currently outstripping the controlled retail price - there's not much that can be done:

Hon. Jose Mai - Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise
"The bakers submitted that they want to increase the price of bread by 75 cents wholesale and 75 cents retail. They did provide enough evidence to show that their cost of making the bread has gone up to 1.81 a pound, so they are selling at 1.75, they are selling below. So we looked at it, we analyzed it, we prepared a cabinet paper and present to cabinet. Cabinet has not said no, they are saying I think we need to do further research to further engage the bakers because bread is a daily thing. We have asked our director of controller and supplies to meet again with the bakers to look at the structure of pricing they have and to see where it is possible to minimize the increase. We are not saying that they will not get an increase, we are saying let us do it carefully. Any increase in any commodity right now will put additional suffering on our people."

Jules Vasquez
"So what should consumers do? Because a lot of them are facing an increased price and cabinet has not approved that increase in price."

Hon. Jose Mai
"That's a legal question, you cannot raise your price when the government has not approved it yet."

Jules Vasquez
"So if you go to the bakery and they are selling you above the control price?"

Hon. Jose Mai
"It is unlawful to do that."

Jules Vasquez
"In a month's time, will we be paying more for bread?"

Hon. Jose Mai
"I suspect there will be increase, not necessarily will be what the bakers are asking and I suspect there will more people coming for increases in commodities."

Is Food Minister Considering Imported Flour?

And, of course, one way of keeping those prices down is to reduce the cost of inputs - the main one being flour. Now, that isn't easy with world wheat prices soaring because Russia and Ukraine make up around one-third of the world's wheat production - and they are at war, causing all kinds of supply shortages.

But, Minister Mai said one idea that has been floated is to bypass ADM Belize Mills - and let imported flour come in. That sounds like a stark deviation from established convention to protect the local producer - and Mai only seemed willing to flirt with the idea:

Hon. Jose Mai - Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise
"We have to look at the cases individually, for example importing flour, that has the highest duty, something like 70 something percent, that was probably done in the past to protect the local miller but we are looking even at that angle, what do we do? If we lower that how will it affect the local mill?"

Jules Vasquez
"But if I heard you right, you are actually thinking of allowing the importation of flour that has been contra-banded to Belize in many years in the north, you will know this but you are actually thinking of relaxing the tariffs on imported flour?"

Hon. Jose Mai
"No, I'm just saying that these are the things we are faced with. People come to you and say why don't you drop the price of this, nothing will be done arbitrarily Jules, it has to be carefully studied, every action has a reaction, we have to look at all angles, we have to look at the producer and the consumer. So, our decision is going to be based on research, consultation and careful analysis."

Channel 7

Re: Price of Bread & Flour Going Up [Re: Marty] #557154
05/11/22 05:36 AM
05/11/22 05:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,965
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Price Of Flour Goes Up Again

A report today from the IMF states that inflation was at "4.9 percent in 2021 and is projected at 5.2 percent for 2022 as the war in Ukraine and related economic sanctions keep global energy and food prices elevated," end quote.

One of the commodities most affected by the war is wheat, and, quietly yesterday, the local wholesale price of flour increased by 10% on Bebe Agua and La Gitana flours.

Bakers have already told the government that their cost of production for a 16 ounce loaf of bread exceeds the controlled price of one dollars and 75 cents. Those cries are now expected to become even more acute, and government is expected to eventually approve an increase in the controlled price for that 16 ounce loaf.

Channel 7

Re: Price of Bread & Flour Going Up [Re: Marty] #558899
08/16/22 06:02 AM
08/16/22 06:02 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,965
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Bakers Lament New Flour Price

Last month we told you that bakers still hadn't received their bread subsidy, even though it was promised to be a 6 month program. And now, on top of that, flour prices have gone up from $91.00 to $102.50 for the 45 kilo sack of Bebe Agua. This new price came into effect today and is now putting pressure on the bakers and merchants to raise the prices of their products, which will, of course, trickle down to the consumers.

Channel 7

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