Kassala / Wad Madani / Ed Debba — Kassala is experiencing an acute bread crisis after the authorities reduced the daily flour quota for bakeries.
"The quota have been cut from 15 to 20 [100 kg] sacks to five sacks," listener Ibrahim Nur told Radio Dabanga from Kassala town.
He said that the crisis is not justified. "There is enough flour available in the country. Yet the problem is that a number of bakeries illegally sell the flour," he explained. "The price of a sack is currently SDG197 ($30) which can be sold for more than SDG400 to smugglers who sell the flour in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and South Sudan."
He added that the issue is not limited to Kassala. "El Gedaref and Wad Madani are suffering from the same problem."
Quotas, banditry, security officers
Bakery owners in Kassala attribute the current crisis to the reduction of the daily quota of flour. They accuse "certain parties" of leaking the flour to the black market, or smuggling it to neighbouring countries.
"The disruption of the informal border trade because of the insecure situation caused by banditry has encouraged the return of smuggling operations across the borders with Eritrea and Ethiopia," one of them said. "And the authorities turn a blind eye to the situation."
A listener in Kassala told this station in end August that the distribution of commodities such as gas, fuel, sugar, and flour is controlled by officers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). "Certain quantities of flour are distributed to state officials, NISS members, and people associated with them," he claimed.
Radio Dabanga reported yesterday that the flour crisis in eastern Sudan's El Gedaref entered its fourth week. The state Minister of Finance attributed the crisis to the sale of flour by owners of bakeries to traders in the markets.
The authorities in El Gedaref recently both raised the price of flour and reduced the quotas by 50 per cent.
In other parts of Sudan, people are as well complaining about a bread crisis.
A bakery owner in Wad Madani, capital of El Gezira, reported that the crisis began in August, before the Eid El Adha. "We pay now SDG350 ($52) for a sack on the black market, as the government agencies hardly have any flour left."
In Ed Debba locality in Northern State, people have to make do with an acute scarcity of bread since the start of this month.
Residents of the North Kordofan state capital also suffer from a severe bread shortage. Several people complained to this station from El Obeid a week ago that the price of one loaf of bread reached SDG1.