Fri 18 Oct 2019

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Mobile Bakery in Damascus: Decent Bread, No Overcrowding

Citizens lining up for a mobile bakery near Bab Touma in Damascus - April 4, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

Citizens lining up for a mobile bakery near Bab Touma in Damascus - April 4, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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A small car, with a miniature oven inside, is roaming the Syrian capital Damascus under the name Mobile Bakery. It was designed by the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection in the Syrian regime’s government, becoming a public demand due to its contribution to reducing overcrowding in public bakeries.

The idea for ​​the mobile bakery came from the General Bakery Commission – an agency of the Ministry of Internal Trade. It aims to relieve other bakeries from overwhelmingly long queues, and contributed to easing overcrowdedness there, several citizens have told Enab Baladi.

According to the General Bakery Commission, the total consumption of flour by all bakeries in the first quarter of 2018 amounted to 3,500 tons of flour, producing 4,200 tons of bread per day. This is the equivalent of more than 3.23 million bundles of bread per day and more than 22.6 million loaves of bread.

Demand for Such Bakeries in Other Areas

The mobile bakery, for the manufacture and sale of bread, was first introduced at the Damascus International Fair in August 2017, according to the director-general of the General Mills Company, Muhannad Shaheen. Mobile bakeries began operating in several areas thereafter.

According to monitoring by Enab Baladi, the bakery has been located in the Sheikh Raslan area of ​​Damascus, between Bab Touma and Al-Zablatani, for the past few weeks.

It is comprised of a mini-truck with miniature oven, and providers a smaller loaf of bread that is sold in the rest in other bakeries, but without any weight difference. A bag of bread at the base price of 50 Syrian pounds.

The bakery has a production capacity of 6 tons of flour per day, according to the director general of the bakery company, Jalil Ibrahim. He confirmed to the government newspaper Al-Thawra, on March 6, that the mobile oven in Damascus was recently moved to the vicinity of the Bab Touma neighborhood, due to the increased demand for bread in that area and its surroundings.

The Directorate of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection oversees the work of the bakery, which produces good quality bread and works well, said Ahmed (who asked not to be named), a citizen standing in line at the bakery.

Ahmed added that the quality of the bread is very good, and it has contributed to easing the overcrowdedness at the Bab Touma government bakery, where one would stand for long hours in order to get a single bundle of bread. He called upon the Ministry of Commerce to introduce more mobile bakeries in order to relieve other crowded central bakeries such as Al Qazzaz and Daff al-Shok.

In turn, citizen Samer Khalid considered that the mobile bakery has two advantages: First, it may contribute to the elimination of bread sales by brokers, who buy bread from bakeries and then sell it in private shops at prices of up to 200 Syrian pounds per bundle. He noted that the overcrowding at bakeries is motivated to force citizens to buy bread from these brokers. The second advantage is the quality of bread that the mobile bakery produces, as it subject to oversight, while some bakeries produce a quality that is considered poor.

Since its establishment, the mobile bakery has roamed through more than one neighborhood of ​​Damascus, the latest of which was near the reserve bakeries in Mazzeh as a fault in the production line was being repaired, according to the general manager of the bakery company.

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