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Gaza flour mills floor down by Russian-Ukraine battle


By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – Three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has closed off entry to lower-priced Black Sea wheat, house owners of 5 mills within the Palestinian Gaza Strip are feeling the warmth as they attempt to replenish shares.

Prices have jumped by round 20%, which means the territory’s 5 mills are struggling to compete with imported inventory bought at barely cheaper charges from Egypt and the West Bank, which have decrease manufacturing prices than Gaza.

Abdel-Dayem Abu Awwad, basic director of Gaza’s greatest AL-Salam Mills Company, mentioned the disaster had compelled them to put off most of their 54 employees and shorten working hours.

“Our capacity stood at 400 tonnes of wheat a day or 300 tonnes of flour… Nowadays, it has fallen to (just) 10 to 20% of that,” he advised Reuters on the facility in southern Gaza, the place a lot of the machines have been switched off.

A 50-kg (110 lbs) sack of flour from his mills prices 120 shekels ($35.91), whereas flour imported from neighbouring Egypt and the occupied West Bank prices round 10 shekels much less. Before the Ukraine battle, a sack of flour bought for 97 shekels.

“The main reason is the Russian-Ukraine war. We had stores for two to three months, but when they ran out we were obliged to buy wheat at new prices, and it was very high,” he advised Reuters.

Russia and Ukraine collectively account for almost a 3rd of world wheat provides and supply disruptions attributable to the conflict have pushed costs up around the globe.

The disaster has coincided with the beginning of Gaza’s personal wheat harvest, however the annual crop barely covers per week’s demand within the coastal enclave, which is house to 2.3 million individuals and consumes as much as 500 tonnes of flour a day.

In Mughraqa village within the central Gaza Strip, Amani Ayyad, a mother-of-six, mentioned the flour value hike was hurting.

“Prices of cooking oil, flour and sugar all went up. We tolerated the blockade and the division but what people can do when they don’t have food? This is a slow death,” Ayyad advised Reuters at her two-room home.

Two-thirds of Gazans are depending on help from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency UNRWA, which incorporates quarterly meals distribution to refugee households. So far, it has maintained deliveries however has known as on extra funds from donor states to cowl surging costs.

“Should UNRWA’s (aid) stop or get delayed there would be a crisis because refugees are dependent on it,” mentioned Samir Al-Adham, 44, a father of 4, talking at a meals distribution centre in Beach refugee camp.

($1 = 3.3420 shekels)

(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Alex Richardson)



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