Local Goa News

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Naka pao: After hike, Goans veer away from bread

Panaji: Despite the All Goa Bakers' Association putting on hold the hike in the prices of the humble pao, a few bakers have gone ahead and increased the price to Rs 5, much to the consternation of consumers.
Bakers themselves appear divided on the issue with many suggesting that a Rs 2 jump in the prices would drive consumers away and indications to that effect can already be seen. Several locals have turned to bhakris , rotis and chappatis and the All Goa Bakers' Association accepts that increasing the price to Rs 5 has dampened demand for what was considered staple diet in Goa.
Pre-empting the All Goa Bakers' Association's meeting of all bakers on July 23, poders in Aldona, Calangute, Siolim, Curchorem, Candolim, Porvorim, Utorda and other places have gone ahead and started charging Rs 5 per bread for the 50g bread.
"Who can afford to pay Rs 20 for four bread? It is better to make bhakri ," Luiza Marie Pereira said.
Pleading helplessness, bakers have pointed out that the increase in commodity prices and the government's failure to roll out the proposed subsidy for bakers and traditional poders has forced them to increase the price of the pao.
"When we last raised the prices, flour cost Rs 1,745 for a 90kg bag. Now the prices have reached Rs 2,700 for the same bag. Sugar has gone up. Yeast prices have increased from Rs 80 to Rs 100. Firewood is expensive," All Goa Bakers' Association president Agapito Menezes points out.
While the All Goa Bakers' Association has yet to arrive at a decision, the All Goa Bakers and Confectioners Association and the All Goa Bakers Bread Union in Calangute has already implemented the Rs 2 hike in prices for bread.
The increase in prices has made many families think twice about the quantity of bread bought on a daily basis. Quite a few locals have also taken a decision to purchase bread for special occasions. pao has been a part of Goan culture and no special occasion is complete without bread, be it a wedding or a feast.
"We used to get seven bread for Rs 20. To spend more than Rs 20 is too much and we make sure that people will eat bread before buying," Mohandas Malkarnekar said.
With Goans slowly shying away from their favourite bread, the impact will be felt by the small bakers who only depend on bread to sustain their operations. Larger bakeries that offer cakes, buns, confectionery items and snacks will continue to remain afloat, Menezes said.
Detractors of the price hike include bakers such as Cajetan Fernandes from Orlim who agrees that while the jump to Rs 5 was justified, it would pinch customers and a gradual move to Rs 4 per bread and later Rs 5 would be sensible.
"People will stop buying the pao and will buy slice bread instead. The small poders will struggle and quit. If they decide to jump to Rs 5 then they must be ready to suffer the consequences," Menezes says with an air of resigned finality.

TOI Goa News

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