The first news of a shortage of bread and its high price in Iran came from Khuzestan, and then from Urmia, Tabriz, Karaj, Shahriyar, Mahdasht, Lorestan, Neka, Kurdistan, Mashhad, and other parts of the country.
In some areas such as Zabol and Mashhad, there is no shortage of bread, but its price has increased, and in a metropolis such as Tabriz, the price of bread has increased by 30 to 50 percent. In some cities, such as Karaj and Neka, a number of bakeries have closed due to lack of flour.
In other cities, such as Urmia, Marivan, Chaipareh, West Azerbaijan, and Saqqez in Kurdistan, bread can be bought in limited quantities only after a few hours of staying in the queue.
State-run daily Javan Online on 6 October wrote: “The problem of bread in Urmia has reached such a level that some people even sell ten tablets of it for 100,000 rials [$0.33] using the mobile software ‘Wall.’”
The “bread” crisis is slowly spreading across the country. Bakeries are in limbo. People are waiting in line for a few loaves of bread, and the government is just talking. It is as if the government is the most undecided. It has neither the power to make a decision nor the power to make any changes. This lockout of the government stems precisely from the complete despair of finding a solution to the situation.
Doubling the dough and 50 percent freight prices have put bakers under a lot of pressure. Bijan Norouz Moghaddam, President of the Traditional Bakers’ Union, said: “We have written to all relevant officials regarding the increase in the price of bread to clarify the task of the bakers, but we are still undecided.”
A citizen from Sanandaj said: “In our city, a person was secretly picking up a loaf of bread for free sale! My father, who is a baker himself, protests and says that people do not have bread, why are you stealing people’s rights? He attacks my father, breaks my father’s phone, and says, ‘I am an intelligence officer can arrest you, and teach you a lesson!’”
In Saqqez in Iran’s Kurdistan, it has been difficult to prepare bread for more than a week. Due to the lack of flour, the bakeries’ bread runs out at 10 am and just 20 loaves are sold to anyone.
Miandoab – Barouk, the Problem of Bread Shortage Continues
One of the residents of the Barouk section of Miandoab said, “We have neither bread nor a bakery! We do not have flour to bake bread.”
The bakers are right, and they are saying the truth. Everything became more expensive except for the bakers’ wages. Bread is not baked for eating in some bakeries. Bakers supplied part of their flour needs from the market, which is not cost-effective from the open market due to its high cost.
But in the meantime, the CEO of the State Trading Company of Iran claims that: “We have no problem in preparing flour and bread, while the amount of strategic reserves in the country is also unique!”
Bread smuggling in Kurdistan!
The head of the Saqqez Industry, Mining and Trade Department said: “In order to implement the provincial decrees banning bread from leaving Kurdistan, a car carrying one thousand loaves of bread that were going to be transferred from Baneh county to neighboring cities was stopped in Saqqez.”
Due to the shortage of bread in the neighboring cities of Kurdistan province for several days now, a number of abusers in this area are selling bread and flour illegally.
The bread crisis, which started in Urmia and Tabriz, has now spread to other cities. Along with the Coronavirus epidemic, an epidemic of hunger is spreading between the people.
Since the government says in this particular case that we do not have a shortage of flour and have sufficient strategic reserves. If the government is right, then this crisis should be sought due to the government’s profiteering from the people’s bread and flour.
Government’s Profiteering Policies Are the Root of Crises
Reducing the share of bakers’ flour forces these poor businessmen to procure part of their shortage from the market. And this purchase is not for the benefit of the bakers and they cannot afford it.
On the other hand, with the rise in the price of sourdough and the price of transportation, bakers can no longer sell bread at the same price as before. The government expects the people to pay all these costs, instead of paying the difference and also covering the wage costs of the bakery workers.
This has created a crisis that is spreading to all cities and there does not seem to be a will in the government to solve this problem.
On October 4, Jabbar Kouchaki Nejad, MP from Gilan province, said: “We currently store 14 million tons of wheat in the country, while our annual consumption is 12 million tons, and in addition to the organization, we have stored wheat, there is a problem in the distribution system.”
The price of bread since the first days of October:
Head of Tehran Province Industry, Mining, and Trade Organization:
In the subsidized bakeries section:
- Barbary with 8,300 rials [$0.028] flour for 10,000 rials [$0.03]
- Sangak with 8,150 rials [$0.027] flour, 12,000 rials [$0.04]
- Taftoon with 8,200 rials [$0.027] flour, 5,500 rials [$0.015]
- Lavash is offered with flour at 8,200 rials [$0.027] at a price of 3,000 rials [$0.01]
In free-baked bakeries, the price of Barbary with the flour of 12,300 rials [$0.04] is sold at the price of 15,000 rials [$0.05], Sangak with the flour at 11,700 rials [$0.04] is sold at the price of 18,000 rials [$0.06], Taftoon with the flour at 12,000 rials [$0.04] is sold at the price of 8,500 rials [$0.029] and Lavash is offered with the flour at 12,000 rials [$0.04] at a price of 4,500 rials [$0.012]. (Gahar website, September 23)
And all these calamities have plummeted on the people while the value of the 450,000 rials subsidy has dropped to $1.5 in the previous government and now with this government, it is going below $1.5. In fact, it can be said, bread became more expensive from the day that public subsidies were cut and a cash subsidy of 450,000 rials [$1.5] replaced it. An unemployed breadwinner who is receiving this $1.5 subsidy can effort just 150 pieces of the Lavash bread per month with the lowest price for his family excluding all other costs. In other words, a family of four must cover all its monthly needs by around $6 alone!