Mapusa bakers okay with Rs 3.30 per pao

Reeling under severe rise in prices of raw material, bakers from Mapusa too have joined the bandwagon demanding that retail bread should be sold at Rs 3.30 or three breads for Rs 10.

Bakers in Mapusa feel that this has been a traditional business and now there are few Goans left in the job as the profit margin was going down with the rise in prices and therefore the price of ‘pao’ or bread should be hiked to ` 3.30.
The main ingredient for making bread is ‘maida’ which is brought to Goa from other states as Goa does not grow wheat nor has any flour mills on a large scale. The price of maida 30 years back was just ` 150 per bag due to which a single ‘pao’ or bread then was sold at just 25 paisa. Today in sharp contrast maida bag costs bakers nothing less than ` 2,300. Along with maida other ingredients like sugar, yeast, firewood and labour charges have over the years brought down the profit margin for bakers in the bread business. This has compelled them now to demand a hike in prices.
“There are a few Goans today in this bread business, the cost of maida itself has shot up terribly and today we are not making any profit. Today there are no flour mills in Goa and maida is being sold in the open market. This age-old tradition if not given a helping hand by the government will soon die out or will be taken over entirely by non Goans,” informed a senior baker, Mr Adrian Fernandes from Bastora.
Mr Fernandes said that it is high time the government helped the bakers by providing a subsidy on the maida sack.
He pointed out that though as per rule at present a 50 gm bread should cost ` 2.50 in the retail market, the breads in Mapusa were weighing anything between 60 to 80 gms which means that the bakers were still delivering a ‘quality’ bread in the midst of spiraling prices.
Another baker, Mr Bartholomew Tavares from Guirim informed that the last hike in bread prices was about eight years back and since then prices have been on the upswing but never did they ask for a hike but now since the prices had gone above their capacity it was unbearable and they were compelled to ask for a hike.
“We are of the opinion that price of bread in the retail market should at least be ` 3.30 per piece or three breads for ` 10. In the wholesale market the price could be ` 2.50 per piece. This work involves a lot of raw material and today prices instead of coming down are skyrocketing so how can we run this business?” he wondered.
He felt that if at all government wants to give subsidy it should be on the maida sack as the same was today costing a baker ` 2,300 against ` 150 in 1982.  [NT]