Poor people in Egypt's Kafr El-Sheikh governorate unable to buy subsidised bread; bakers blame lack of wheat, government blames corruption

Alaa Abdallah , Monday 20 Aug 2012

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File photo: A child balancing a tray of bread On his shoulder, which he has just bought from a bakery in Cairo , Feb. 6, 2008. that sells government-subsidized bread. (Photo:Reuters)

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Resident of the city of Desouk in the northwestern Nile Delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh have been suffering from a shortage of subsidised bread since the beginning of Eid on Sunday, according to the Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

Bakeries, which serve close to three million residents in the governorate, have not received their share of subsidised wheat and have therefore been unable to produce enough bread.

As a result, several bakeries in the city will be closed for the three-day Eid festival.

Burullus, Kafr El-Sheikh city and Riad in the same governorate are also experiencing bread shortages, with many residents complaining that what little bread they are able to buy is of poor quality.

Fawzy Abdel-Aziz, undersecretary at the supply ministry, has said the problem is not due to a shortage of subsidised wheat, and has instead accused bakeries of illegally selling subsidised wheat on the black market.

Monitors will be sent to the bakeries suffering from shortages, Abdel-Aziz said.

Egypt has been suffering from subsidised bread shortages for a number of years. The crisis reached its peak during the final years of the Mubarak era, when fatal brawls at bakeries were not uncommon.

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