For two months, Tunisians have been facing a significant shortage of bread, they who consume much more than the French. The cause: the war in Ukraine, which caused wheat imports to fall.
Every day the same scene: a queue in front of the bakery, and this Tunisian woman is losing her patience: “Morning and evening, you have to go looking for this bread. We are tired”, she rebels. Today, the baker was kind enough to give him ten baguettes, but sometimes it’s half as much and… “Five chopsticks… that can’t be enough for a family of eight!” she exclaims.
Because Tunisia is one of the largest consumers of bread in the world: 74 kilos are consumed per person per year, far ahead of France, hence the impact of this crisis. “We hit the Tunisian in the stomach!” summarizes Asma, a French teacher who confirms that bread is a food “indispensable on the Tunisian table”. We easily eat, for example, half a baguette with a dish of pea sauce.
However, since the war in Ukraine, wheat imports have declined, and the Tunisian authorities decided on August 1 to ration subsidized flour and impose complex rules on traders. So, in this state-subsidized bakery in Greater Tunis, Youssef the salesman is exasperated: he is only allowed to produce bread and one type of baguette, millimeter-sized. His stall, previously filled with pastries, is completely empty.
Before, customers came with their children to buy a snack to go to school. Now there is no”, he regrets with a sad air, explaining that more than half of his colleagues were put on technical unemployment and left the bakery. Because the electricity bill has not forgotten to climb either, 4,500 dinars (1,300 euros per month). “The boss is going to go bankrupt like that, he can’t manage”fears Youssef.
In this other type of bakery, called “modern”, non-state, the boss Kaïs is not happy either. If he is allowed to make pastries and bread, the latter must be smaller and more expensive than subsidized bakers, so as not to compete with them. Not only is the quality of the bread thus provided not of good quality, complains Kaïs, but it is also bad for business.
France TV Info