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Consumers urged to avoid ‘overstocking’ on bread, food for cold front

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 10,2015 - Last updated at Feb 10,2015

AMMAN — Stakeholders on Tuesday urged consumers to maintain “a reasonable” demand on bread and food items in the next few days, when a cold air mass is expected to take effect, bringing strong winds, rain and snow.

In phone interviews with The Jordan Times, they said there is no need for consumers to worry about shortages in bread or any kind of food as the stocks exceed the Kingdom’s needs.

Bakery Owners Association President Abdul Ilah Hamawi said demand on bread started surging on Saturday, prompting bakeries to increase production rates by 50 per cent.

“We agreed with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply to increase the daily allocation of subsidised flour from 2,000 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes,” he told The Jordan Times.

Hamawi added that bakeries’ consumption of flour during the January snowstorm reached up to 5,000 tonnes on some days. 

“The past two days witnessed reasonable demand unlike the days before the last blizzard where we had customers buying quantities that could serve them for weeks,” he said, urging people to secure their needs of bread for four days at most.

“Bakeries will be working during the cold front as they did in the last cold front,” he noted.

According to Trade Ministry estimates, consumers bought over 140 million loaves of bread in a four-day period last month and threw away around 40 million loaves.

The quantity bought by consumers was enough to cover the needs of 25 million people, the ministry said.

Amman Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Ghassan Kherfan said reserves of all kinds of foods are enough for six months.

“The stocks of all canned, dry and frozen foods are more than enough,” he said, noting that the demand is so far “less than before the last blizzard”.

He called on consumers to “buy only what they need without storing large amounts of food items”, noting that the high demand on food during January’s snowstorm was followed by a slowdown until households consumed the stored items.

“Some individuals spread exaggerated rumours in order to improve the performance of their businesses,” Kherfan warned, pointing out that the authorities pledged to clear snow from the streets during this week’s cold front.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Trade Ministry said it has taken several steps to ensure the availability of food items.

Flour supplies for bakeries have been increased to ensure the availability of bread during the cold front, according to the ministry’s spokesperson, Yanal Barmawi.

The official urged the public not to “overcrowd” bakeries, noting that the staple was available throughout the previous cold front when “large amounts of bread were wasted”. 

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