Wheat production costs blamed

2008-01-19 00:00

AGRICULTURAL organisations have blamed wheat production costs for the recent bread price hike.

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) warned that communities who are dependant on farming for their income might be plunged into bankruptcy.

Kwanalu president Robin Barnsley said the increase in wheat prices is the driving force behind the bread price hike. However, he said other contributing factors to the increase in grain products price are the rise in the fuel price, which led to the increase in both transport and packaging costs.

According to Grain SA, wheat prices increased as a result of loss of profits in the agricultural industry. Grain SA chairman Neels Ferreira said that following the deregulation of wheat prices in 1997, the local price of wheat dropped. He said that due to continuous increases in input costs, many local producers were forced to stop their production because they were not making profits.

“Agriculture is a business and just like any other enterprise, the main intention is to make a profit. If no profit is made, sustainable production cannot be realised in the long run.”

Local supermarkets are charging different prices for the same loaf of bread. A price list released by Tiger Brands group Albany, effective from January 14, 2008, reflects that a loaf of white bread costs R6,21 and R5,35 for brown bread. However the same bread costs R5,99 and R5,49 respectively at Checkers.

Independently-owned Spar sells the same bread at R6,19 and R5,59 while Pick n Pay charges R5,99 and R5,39 for the white and brown Albany breads.

Checkers sells BB bread for R5,89 and R5,29, Pick n Pay charges R5,79 and R4,89 for white and brown breads respectively. Breads from a local private bakery, Sunshine, cost R4,79 and R4,29. At City Square Spar, it cost R5,59 for white and R5,29 for brown and Pick n Pay sells it for R4,59.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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