Manila Bulletin

Flour millers, bak­ers ready for Christ­mas de­mand

- By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT Business · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · F.C. Internazionale Milano

Flour millers and bak­ers said there is enough sup­ply of flour for the lo­cal mar­ket and bread pro­duc­tion as the econ­omy opens wider on the run up to the Christ­mas sea­son amid strict ob­ser­vance of the health pro­to­cols in this pan­demic.

In a vir­tual press con­fer­ence to mark the World Bread Day cel­e­bra­tion, flour millers and bak­ers agreed the need to adapt to the new nor­mal.

Ric Pinca, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Philip­pine As­so­ci­a­tion of Flour Millers (PAFMIL) an­nounced the readi­ness of the millers stress­ing the in­dus­try has learned how to cope with the pan­demic af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing 7 months of var­i­ous lev­els of com­mu­nity quar­an­tine.

Ac­cord­ing to Pinca, the flour in­dus­try is very well pre­pared even if there is a resur­gence of COVID-19.

In fact, he said “We are cov­ered for the whole Christ­mas sea­son.”

“We will not have any short­age of wheat and flour in the next few months. We as­sure every­body that flour will be avail­able on de­mand and in ev­ery lo­ca­tion,” he said adding that flour millers al­ways pre­pare at this time of the year be­cause de­mand nor­mally goes up dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son.

Af­ter 7 months of quar­an­tine, he said, the in­dus­try is now well pre­pared and can prop­erly re­spond in case of a resur­gence of the virus.

Flour millers are also do­ing well be­cause of higher de­mand es­pe­cially from com­mu­nity bak­ers, which are also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing brisk sales as bread sup­plies in su­per­mar­kets are lim­ited and move­ment is lim­ited while the public mar­kets were closed.

“De­mand was con­sis­tent in fact even higher. De­mand did not slow down. There was not much food avail­able but there was bread so con­sump­tion of bread was not dis­rupted,” he said not­ing that the in­dus­try has ex­panded fur­ther with new millers. In ad­di­tion, prices of flour are lower than 5 years ago.

Trade and In­dus­try Un­der­sec­re­tary Ruth Castelo said that the bread in­dus­try does not have many prob­lems dur­ing this pan­demic be­cause of their un­ham­pered op­er­a­tion be­ing a ba­sic com­mod­ity.

Cas­tel said the bread in­dus­try re­ported to the gov­ern­ment’s In­ter-Agency Task Force on food se­cu­rity that they have suf­fi­cient sup­ply of flour up to next year.

Chito Chavez, who owns Ti­na­paysan, said com­mu­nity bak­ers just have to adapt with the sit­u­a­tion. As busi­ness­men, he urged bak­ers to sur­vive and think of prof­itabil­ity later. Thus, he stressed that com­pli­ance to health pro­to­cols is crit­i­cal for their sur­vival.

Wal­ter Co, owner of Wal­ter Bread, also noted of a gen­eral shift among con­sumers from the more ex­pen­sive bread to the cheaper ones.

“Peo­ple are earn­ing less these days, many are out of work,“he said. But, Co said that the longer im­pact is that big com­pa­nies will go for au­toma­tion and rely on less peo­ple to run a bak­ery.

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