The health situations of many Nigerians may worsen as hunger induced health related issues may become prevalent with the four-day strike action by the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMCN) which commenced on Wednesday.
Bread is one of the common foods on Nigerians staple and it is also readily available for the poor to purchase so that they can carry on with their day-to-day activities
Bread in Nigeria is a good source of Vitamin A according to nutritionists, and it helps to checkmate the prevalence of some of the common diseases in children, one of which is childhood blindness
Nigerian bread is baked with vitamin A fortified wheat flour and it Contributes One Half of recommended Vitamin A intake in Poor-Urban centres and rural areas. Bread is a low-fat source of protein that is required by our bodies for growth, renewal, and repair.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that the body needs for growth and development. It is also vital for cell recognition, vision, immune function, and reproduction. It also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs function correctly.
According to FAO/WHO, it is estimated that 228 million children are affected and 500 000 children become partially or totally blind every year as a result of vitamin A deficiency
Master Bakers aim at pressing home to their displeasure over the high cost of ingredients used in making bread.
They have warned the government and Nigerians that they would commence a four-day warning strike Wednesday, July 21 to protest the unbearable cost of doing business in Nigeria.
The President, of Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), Emmanuel Onuorah, in a statement, said that operating a bakery in Nigeria has become near impossible as the incessant increase in the prices of baking materials and diesel rendered the industry comatose.
He added that members of his association comprising owners, managing directors and partners of premium bakeries in Nigeria are mostly running on huge losses and this is no longer sustainable.
“In a move to ensure the survival of the Premium breadmaking industry in Nigeria, we have decided to embark on a withdrawal of services beginning from Thursday 21st July 2022 for four days in the first instance and where no intervention from the government, we shall escalate the duration of the withdrawal.
“The reasons for the withdrawal of services are as follows: Incessant increase in the price of baking materials; Request Federal Government to stop charging 15 percent Wheat development levy on wheat import; Request NAFDAC to review downwards the 154,000 naira penalty charged bakeries on late renewal of certificates; Grant members access to grants and soft loans being given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Minor, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and Stoppage of multi – agencies regulation of the breadmaking industry.”
He disclosed that efforts to ensure the survival of the industry led to a series of meetings with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja (FMITI) with a sister association in the breadmaking industry in 2021.
He added that the best attempts to ensure that suggestions put forward for the survival of the breadmaking industry have not yielded the desired result.
“Therefore, the withdrawal of service is the only way we believe we can use to get to Federal Government and Nigerians and let them know our plight and how difficult it has been with the breadmaking industry in Nigeria.”
He noted that bread is a staple food and one of the cheapest ‘grab and go’ food that is available for both the poor and rich, reason the Federal Government should ensure the survival and sustainability of the industry.