11 November 2018

Sudan: Bakery Closures in Sudan's El Gedaref Due to Flour Shortages

Sudan — As flour becomes increasingly scarce, most parts of Sudan are experiencing a bread crisis, in particular El Gedaref, Kassala, River Nile state, Khartoum, South Kordofan, and West and East Darfur.

On Thursday, most of the bakeries in El Gedaref closed because of lack of flour. Several people from El Gedaref town told Radio Dabanga that they had spent many hours in the past two days searching for bread in various districts to no avail.

A resident of El Kalakala district told Radio Dabanga "most of the bakeries have been closed because of lack of bread". He likened the current crisis to the stifling crisis in January.

Since Wednesday, residents of Khartoum have been complaining about a severe bread crisis. Arif Najmeldin, head of the National Flour Chamber, attributed the problems of bread in the past days to non-arrival of flour quantities that have been set by the Ministry of Finance for the bakeries, "amounting to 43,000 [100 kg] sacks a day".

Prime Minister Motaz Mousa said that the country has experienced a brief jolt in the abundance of bread and certain arrangements have been made to deal with the situation successfully. He expressed concern for what has happened, promising to double efforts to tighten administration and ensure that the crisis does not recur.

No solution in sight

Sudan has been suffering from a scarcity of fuel and cooking gas, in addition to a lack of flour in the last couple of years. In March this year however, the crises became acute.

On Sunday, Khartoum's state Ministry of Finance admitted that there is a bread shortage in the state. It stressed the need to monitor the coordination of the distribution of flour, between the flour production, agents, and the union of bakeries. This should ensure that the quantities (estimated at 43,000 sacks of flour a day) flow correctly and meet the demand throughout the week.

Back in August, the Minister of Finance, Economy and Consumer Affairs of Khartoum State, Adil Mohamed Osman, said that the bread crisis was nearing its end.

End 2017, the Sudanese government decided on a package of austerity measures in an attempt to address the huge gap in its finances. One of the measures included the liberalisation of the flour market which lead to the doubling of the bread prices.


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