Bread industry flourish during COVID-19

The manager and proprietor of the Red Lion Bakery Michelle V. Jones, has told Awoko that despite the coronavirus in the country, she is now experiencing more sales in bread than before. Madam Jones has increased her production and also recruited some more staff to match up with the huge demand for bread from the public. “The coronavirus is not affecting us that much, as we are having a lot of sales now” she said. She added that people are now buying bread and storing them in preparation for the next lockdown. She told this medium that ahead of the previous lockdown, they had to seek the assistance of police to control the huge crowd in their shop, who wanted to buy bread. Even though the Owner and Manager of Salvonne Bakery Madam Yvonne Hamilton admitted to have sold more bread ahead of the lockdown, she however highlighted her challenges during this COVID- 19 period. She said since the corona outbreak hit the shores of Sierra Leone, it has seriously affected her business leading to a drop in production along with slow sales. She explained that prices for nearly all of the ingredients used in the production of bread have been increased by the business people, and this has put them in a precarious situation to keep the business running. “Sugar, flour, butter and yeast, all of their prices have been increased by the business people but the major problem we are having currently is packet water, which we buy on a daily basis and it is hard to get now. We aren’t using the tap water to process bread.” She added that since Sierra Leone is not currently producing flour, the price of flour before now was Le 235,000 but currently it is between Le265,000 to Le275,000, whilst the price for sugar was Le 235,000 but it is now being sold for Le 360,000. She said they experienced a mad rush for bread by customers ahead of the lockdown and urged Government to reduce the prices of sugar and flour in the market ahead of the Ramadan period. Abdulai Jalloh owns a Bakery at Dworzack. He maintained that the night curfew instituted by the government is on the verge of killing his business. He said they used to start to bake around 4am, but that is no longer possible now due to the curfew. “We are now having challenges to supply our morning customers because we have also adjusted our timing to match with the curfew. He said “business is currently bad for me and my colleagues, we used to bake two bags of flour for both morning and afternoon production but that is not happening now due to the curfew.” He said the shops and market women they used to supply have also cut down on their intake whilst others have stopped their business for the time being due to the night curfew. “People need bread but the time is not enough for us to work and for them to sell.”

By Mohamed J.Bah