Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Bakeries caught cheating customers Some lower bread weight by 40%

The Addis Ababa Trade Bureau reports that some bakeries are selling bread at a lower weight than the regulations allow. After a recent two month inspection of bakeries, some shops have been selling bread which is supposed to be 100 grams at as little as 60 grams to increase their profit. 100 grams of bread is supposed to be sold for 1 birr and 30 cents. Bread that was supposed to weight 200 or 300 grams has had its weight reduced by 80 grams during the baking process. So far seven bakeries have been closed for lowering the weight and the Bureau says more may be shut as they are warning all trade regulation bureaus in every sub city.
A scarcity of wheat is being blamed for the recent behavior of bakery owners. Bread prices doubled from one to two birr at bakeries which were not receiving subsidized flour from the government. A quintal of wheat is being sold to bakers for 2,000 birr, twice its recent 1,000 birr a quintal price. At some places bread prices have gone higher than two birr.
Kasehun Abera, Trade Inspection Head at the Bureau told Capital that the government has a zero tolerance policy toward lowering the weight of bread.
“The wheat flour the bakeries get is subsidized by the government. The main reason we do this is to help our people. We have observed that some bakeries are using the wheat shortage as a pretext for lowering bread weight. But they can’t add price or lower weight without the government’s permission. These bad activities  hurt consumers and give the city a bad image.”
He added the wheat scarcity is currently being solved  and government is distributing wheat to flour companies who give it to bakeries.
Currently 400,000 quintals of wheat are under the procurement process and 700,000 quintals of wheat went to flour companies and bakeries in the last two months.
A source in the trade bureau said that the government should get out of the wheat supply market  to stabilize the bread market in the city.
“Bread weight in the city is not uniform because some bakeries get a subsidy and some do not but if the supply of wheat fully falls to the private sector competition will be created among suppliers to provide the best product at a good price which ultimately will benefit consumers and bakeries to obtain better prices and services.’’
Currently 1,650 bakeries get flour subsidies in Addis Ababa through 44 wheat flour companies who are working on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Under normal circumstances Addis Ababa gets 168,000 quintals of wheat from the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise.