Egypt’s subsidized bread loaf narrowed by 20 grams

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, shrinked the size of its subsidized bread loaf by 20 grams. It will allow bakers to make more fixed price loaves from the standard 100-kg sack of flour after increasing its price.

Egypt offers bread to more than 60 million people as part of a sprawling food subsidy programme.

Changes to food support are highly sensitive in the country, where a decision to cut bread subsidies led to deadly riots across Egypt in 1977.

The new weight of the subsidized bread loaf is 90 grams and each sack of flour will yield 1,450 loaves effective August 18.

A bakery owner in Cairo who chose to remain anonymous told Reuters that the change in the size of the loaf would be noticeable to consumers.

“Due to many demands received by the ministry of supply from bakers divisions across the country, we agreed to recalculate the cost of each sack of flour… (to account for) increases in gas and diesel fuel prices… and to add an insurance cost for bakery workers to be borne by the ministry,” Ahmed Kamal, the supply ministry’s spokesman, told Reuters.

The revised cost of the ministry’s standard sack of flour will now be 265 Egyptian pounds ($16.68) up from 213 Egyptian pounds ($13.40).

Subsidized bread would still cost 0.05 Egyptian pounds ($0.0031) and each individual would be allocated 5 loaves on the subsidy programme, Kamal added.

“The ministry will tighten supervision on all bakeries to make sure the designated specifications, quality and weights necessary for the production of subsidized loaf (are followed, in addition to) the application of penalties and fines against violators.”