Bakers in the Gambia town of Brikama, West Coast Region, embarked on a sit-down strike after public health authorities at the Brikama Health Centre ordered them to improve on their hygiene, PANA reported from here.
It is not clear how long the strike will last but local residents say there is a noticeable lack of bread in the commercial capital of the West Coast Region for the last three days.
In The Gambia, bread is one of the most consumed item after rice.
Momodou Jallow, a baker, said health authorities told them to improve on their hygiene, especially the conditions under which bread is baked.
Lamin Sanyang, one of the thousands of bread consumers in Brikama, said: “There is no point for bakers to go on strike. They should respect and comply with the order.”
Shopkeeper Ousman Jallow also said the bakers should comply with the order. It is not only about ensuring food safety, we are all losing as businesspeople.”
A senior public health officer told PANA that the order is in line with food safety and hygiene.
“We have inspected a lot of bakeries in town but the condition in which they are operating is not encouraging,” he said.
Yahya Bojang, Councillor of Brikama Suba Ward, said Gambian youth should take up bakery as a self-employable business. He said “if Gambian youth were the ones doing the bread business this strike will not have happened.”
Boido Candeh, President of The Gambia Bakers Association, declined to comment on the issue, saying “It is not part of my administration.”
In April, an acute shortage of bread hit Brikama, also the administrative capital of the West Coast region, following increasing in the price for flour and the refusal of bakers to heed the new prices.