Bakers across the country are beginning to phase out the production of 16-ounce packs of sliced bread. The move is reportedly in response to GOB’s rejection to their request to increase the price of bread. Earlier in the month, GOB announced that the Minister of Food Security, Jose Mai, would be engaging with the Association of Bakers to seek other alternatives to minimize the possible increases. According to the Area Representative for Belize Rural South, Andre Perez who owns San Pedro’s largest bakery, one of those alternatives may be to completely stop producing the controlled good. That’s because the regulated price is only on 16-ounce pack of sliced bread.
Andre’ Perez, Rep., Belize Rural South: “Our bakers, they are kind of weary about that it’s not really feasible for them. So I just went to one of those stores here in Belize City and basically that 16oz is being phased out. So whether the Government does a decision or not, bakers are saying we no longer produce this 16 oz bread. You’re going to be buying a different loaf bread, 17oz, 18oz at a different price because you know that flour went up. It’s almost at $91.50 right now, the highest ever. So, bakers have to do what they have to do and your loaf bread has gone up, basically, across this country already so whatever decision is going to be done next week in Government is just to finalise and rationalise things and to formalise things if you want to call it that way.”
Vejea Alvares, Love FM News: So do you foresee bakers trying to say if 16 oz pack bread is not going to increase, we’re just simply not going to make it?
Andre Perez, Rep., Belize Rural South: “Yes it’s on the table for discussion and they know it. If it’s not going to change then we’ll just stop making the 16oz bread. We’ll make it clear, the only bread that has price control is the 16oz packed bread. The other products have no price control on it and those prices have gone up already, reflective of all the ingredients that have gone up. We’re not only talking about flour. Shortening, yeast, all of those things have gone up right? So it’s not because I’m a baker myself but rather is that it’s the prudent and the practical thing to do. They have to raise their prices.
It is important to note that Minister Mai has stated that the increase in the price of flour was not approved and persons who have hiked the price can be charged for doing so.