In many Nigerian households, bread, a staple and beloved item, is transforming from a daily necessity into a luxury. The escalating costs of ingredients are forcing bakery owners into a difficult position, where they must either raise prices or face the possibility of shutting down their businesses.
The surge in the prices of crucial baking ingredients, notably flour, is linked to global factors, with the Russian-Ukraine war playing a significant role in causing a worldwide shortage of flour. This scarcity is having a profound impact on bakeries, making it challenging for them to maintain affordable prices.
Caught in a dilemma, bakery owners are grappling with the need to balance increasing costs while staying operational to serve their customers. Unfortunately, some have already succumbed to the financial strain and closed their doors.
To address the crisis, some bakery owners are adopting a strategy of reducing the sizes of their bread while simultaneously increasing prices. While this approach aims to strike a balance, it leaves consumers with smaller portions at higher costs.
Mr. Abayomi Olorunfemi, a frustrated baker, lamented the impact of the country’s economy on businesses, remarking that it has turned smart businessmen into individuals facing unprecedented challenges. Many of his colleagues, he noted, are either closing down or scaling back their operations.
Mrs. Are Toluwalase, a businesswoman, shared her experience of having to stop buying bread due to the increased price of a family-size loaf, emphasizing that the reduced quantity is a cause for concern.
Bakery owners like Mr. Aderotimi Samuel have been forced to make tough decisions, including laying off staff and shutting down bakeries, to cope with the escalating costs of maintenance and ingredients.
The ripple effect extends beyond bakery owners to those selling flour and baking ingredients. Mrs. Janet Omoh, a seller of these essential items, highlighted the daily increase in the cost of flour and other necessities, making it increasingly challenging for businesses in the industry to sustain themselves.