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Wheat flour shortage pushes confectioners, bakers to cut production

4 November 2021 01:11 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Wheat flour supply down by 25%
  • Shortage of US dollars cited as key reason
  • Export of confectionary items likely to take a hit
  • Masses to be most impacted due to reduced access to affordable food and snacks 

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The availability of ready-to-eat wheat flour-based food products will take a considerable hit in the coming weeks, as the shortage of key ingredients to feed the supply chains of the confectionary and bakery sectors has pushed the manufacturers to cut down production, despite the high demand for such items.


The senior representatives of the Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association (LCMA) and All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) told Mirror Business yesterday that the suppliers of wheat flour are unable to cater to the requirements of the sector, as the lack of US dollars has made imports a challenge.


According to the two associations, Prima Ceylon (Ltd) and Serendib Flour Mills (Ltd) are only able to cater to 75 percent of the wheat flour requirement at present and it is feared the supply would further contract in the coming months.


“Within the last six months, the two suppliers of wheat flour have increased the price per kilo by 45 percent. The situation is that even though we procure wheat flour at high prices, the two entities are unable to meet our demand.
The explanation we have received is that they do not have enough US dollars to import the required quantities of wheat flour. This puts us in a very difficult situation,” said LCMA Chairman S.M.D. Suriyakumara.


While the pandemic increased the manufacturing cost of manufacturers, the increase in prices of raw materials and shortages of key ingredients make it difficult to sustain, he said.


The LCMA cautioned that in addition to the likelihood of smaller manufacturers shutting down businesses, which would result in loss of jobs, the export market too would be impacted due to production being limited.

Reflecting similar sentiments, ACBOA President N.K. Jayawardana said that it is becoming impossible to operate in the current context as there are shortages in not only wheat flour but also rice, sugar and gas.


“We have not explored the option of increasing prices again since we understand the plight of the people. Everything is a scarcity now and operating or running a business is becoming increasingly difficult,” said Jayawardana.


Jayawardana pointed out that the membership of the ACBOA, along with the LCMA, has knocked the doors of all relevant authorities but a solution is yet to be found.


The two associations asserted that if the current situation continues, it is the masses that would be the most impacted, as they would have reduced access to affordable food and snacks going forward.

 


  Comments - 3

  • Sambo Thursday, 04 November 2021 01:25 PM

    No fuss! we are now making research to see if grass is good for our health.

    Sunil Thursday, 04 November 2021 02:48 PM

    This is how the downward trend we experienced during the 1970 - 1977 started. We are in for more shortages and price increases in the months ahead. Bread queues will become the norm, sooner than later.

    M Fernando Friday, 05 November 2021 06:59 AM

    Pull out your flower plants.. Time to start planting manioc and bathala Soon, whatever bread we get will be with added protein (gulla's)


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