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War in Ukraine will trigger bread price hikes

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ON THE UP Maciej Chlebicki says the price of flour is about to soar.

Oisín McGovern

A POLISH bread maker based in Castlebar has said the war in Ukraine will lead to a large increase in the price of bread.
Maciej Chlebicki, owner of the Breadski Brothers, said that the increase in the price of grain caused by the conflict will force bakeries to raise their prices. Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News as part of our ongoing coverage of the effects of the war in Ukraine, Mr Chlebicki said bread makers will require government support to cope with increased costs.
Speaking on a call from western Poland, he said that the surge in the price of commodities like oil, gas and kerosene will also be a factor in the rising costs. “It will hit all the bakeries very much. Ukraine and Russia are one of the biggest exporters of the wheat. There is no doubt the price of the flour will go up. It had already gone up 100 percent in the last six months,” he said.
“If the fuel is going up, everything else is going up. Electricity went up very much just recently, approximately 25 percent. The kerosene oil we use for baking went up over 100 percent,” added Mr Chlebicki, whose business has been established in Castlebar since 2006.

Fear
UKRAINE is the one of the largest exporters of wheat in the world, supplying between 12 and 14 percent of the planet’s wheat. With the largest amount of arable land in Europe, the country had exported considerable amounts of grain before the outbreak of war.
“We are afraid of the future now,” Mr Chlebicki said. “We are trying to recover from the pandemic, and we will be hit much, much [worse] by the war and the inflation. “Bread is not a luxury product; bread is not the shoe you will buy once a year as a premium product. It’s a basic product people buy every day, but you don’t expect to spend €5 a loaf. The prices must go up. I don’t know how much bread will be on the shelf.
“It’s not a great time to recalculate because businesses have had a very tough time because of the pandemic. We will be doing our best, but we will need some support from the government.”
Mr Chlebicki explained Ukraine and Russia’s have climates are ideally suited to grain production. The two countries together account for a quarter of the world’s grain exports. “In Ukraine, they plant a lot of wheat because of the weather and they export a lot to other countries. Now, facing the war, all of that will stop. We won’t have this part of the market from Ukraine, so the price will go up,” he said.
Mr Chlebicki added that bread prices in Poland have already risen by approximately 60 percent. Businesses have also been harder hit by gas price increases than domestic households.
“For my parents, they [gas prices] went up 50 percent, but for businesses they went up 300-400 percent,” he said.
“They are facing similar problems that we do, that’s why they have no choice but to increase the prices. Tough times.”