Bakeries seek funds for switch-over to kerosene

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A baker removes bread from an oven.

A baker removes bread from an oven.

Jeddah’s bakeries are seeking financial support to replace their ovens following a recent decision taken by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry demanding the use of kerosene, a purer type of fuel, instead of diesel.

Several bakery owners have complained that their current equipment is not fit for use using other types of fuel.

Others, however, already operate using environmentally friendly substances.

“I already use gas to operate my bakery even though it is more costly because my bakery is located in a populated neighborhood,” said Abdullah Musa.

“Municipality inspectors have paid us several visits over the past few weeks to ensure that we are not using diesel and to assess the quality of the equipment we use,” he said.

Syed Ahmad, another local baker, agrees with Musa.

“The use of gas in undoubtedly more environmentally friendly and ensures a healthier workplace because it is free of harmful emissions,” he said.

Hussain Belal, a fellow worker, said many bakery owners are nevertheless worried by the high costs associated with maintaining kerosene-powered bakeries.

“We are in need of financial support to help us replace our old equipment,” he said.

Other bakers have stated flat-out that they cannot shoulder the financial burden of replacing their furnaces. “I was shocked by the decision,” said Abdulmunim Mohammed. “I cannot afford this huge unforeseen expense.”

He said some bakeries will face hardship on both personal and financial levels.

“While this will have a positive impact in reducing the city’s pollution levels, the taste and the quality of bread will not change,” he said. “Either the ministry helps us out or we will suffer.”

Fayez Hamada, chairman of the Bakeries Committee in Jeddah, said that an administrative body was recently formed consisting of the Municipal and Rural Affairs minister and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to discuss various developments within the industry, including the issue of manpower and the SR3,000 fine that will be imposed on bakers who do not adhere to the minimum standard weight during bread production.

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