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Acute shortage of bread in Sudan

January 9 - 2017 KHARTOUM / EL OBEID / EL GEZIRA
Queuing to buy bread in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, 7 January 2017 (RD)
Queuing to buy bread in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, 7 January 2017 (RD)

In various areas in Sudan, people have to wait in long lines to buy bread since last week.

Residents of Khartoum attributed the bread crisis to the scarcity of flour. “Since the government liberalised the US Dollar rate for import goods in November, the import of wheat has become less lucrative. The prices of flour immediately began to soar again,” one of them said.

A listener in El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, reported a scarcity of bread for four days.

He told this station on Sunday that the people are lining up outside bakeries and have to wait for long hours to get their daily bread. He accused the bakers of theft: “The pieces of bread we finally manage to get, are smaller than before.”

Also in El Gezira state, people are standing in long queues in front of the bakeries these days. “Often to no avail,” a housewife reported. “Many people are returning home without having been able to buy bread.”

She said that the price of a [100kg] sack of flour in El Gezira has risen to more than SDG 350 ($54).

Imported

Sudan imports more than two million tons of wheat annually at a cost of $1.5 billion. Analysts attributed earlier flour crises, in 2015 and 2016, to the lack of hard currency at the Sudanese banks which forced the importers, reportedly including the government, to buy US dollars at the black market. 

In October last year, the Sudanese Minister of Finance announced the withdrawal of the government from the international wheat market, and open the door for free import of the staple food. In addition, the authorities would end their control over the domestic wheat and flour market. The minimum weight for a piece of bread would be abolished as well.


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