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Consumption of subsidised bread surges as refugee crisis continues

By Omar Obeidat - Jun 04,2014 - Last updated at Jun 04,2014

AMMAN – Consumption of subsidised flour has increased by over 35 per cent in the past two years due to hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, according to President of the Bakery Owners Association Abdul Ilah Hamawi. 

Hamawi told The Jordan Times on Wednesday that consumption of the government-supported flour, used for bread, has gone up from 620,000 tonnes a year to nearly 850,000 tonnes, attributing the sharp increase in consumption to the large numbers of Syrians who fled war-torn Syria to Jordan. 

Official figures estimate the number of Syrians living in Jordan at around 1.3 million, 600,000 of whom are officially registered as refugees. A small portion of refugees, just above 100,000, reside in two major refugee camps in the eastern desert. 

“Demand on bread, particularly in the northern part of the Kingdom, has surged sharply over the past two years,” he said. The governorates of Mafraq and Irbid in the north host the majority of Syrians in Jordan. 

Hamawi noted that bread prices is JD0.160 a kilo due to subsidised flour, while the real cost on the Treasury is JD0.450 a kilo. 

The government sells flour to bakeries at JD36 per tonne while its real cost is around JD305 per tonne, according to official figures, which put the overall value of flour subsidy at around JD260 million per year. 

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