Monday, July 20, 2015

Dar residents astonished as EID celebrations triggered high food prices

WITH the start of Eid-el-Fitry celebrations today, some food commodities are sold at high prices at some of the Dar es Salaam markets due to high demand by consumers, the survey by the Guardian can establish. Food commodities mostly affected were those normally preferred during special religious occasions and big festivities such as rice, cow meat as well as local and exotic bread chicken whose high prices are normally characterized by a high demand by potential consumers. A random survey by the Guardian carried out in most city markets reveals that, a kilogramme of the best quality rice content is sold at a retail price of between Sh. 2,100 and Sh. 2,400 compared to the previous price of between Sh. 1,800 and Sh. 2,000 respectively. This is an increase of 20 percent.   Shabani Abdallah, a retail trader at Ilala market in the city said he bought 200 bags of rice from Mbeya and took only one week to dispose of the whole consignment. At other times, it would normally take him about a month to finish the lot. He said boasting during religious occasions they reap big profits.   At Buguruni market which is famous for selling bananas, prices was not normal as almost every essential food commodity was raised by 25 percent. Cooking bananas were sold at Sh. 1,000 for a bundle of four pieces instead of the six pieces as it was used before.  Ripe bananas were sold at between Sh. 200 and Sh. 250 each piece respectively instead of Sh. 100 and Sh. 150 as it was before.  According to one trader, Omar Salehe, there is no constant price for consumable products for most traders take the advantage of the festivities. The prices of mixed meat at Gongo la Mboto butcheries rose from the normal Sh. 6,000 for a normal kilogram to Sh. 7,000 a kilogram. The survey has further discovered that,  a kilogram of the steak meat has risen from Sh. 8,000 and now is fetched at Sh. 9,000. This is an increase of 14 percent.  Attributing for such a tremendous rise, Mvunda Kipelego a famous meat trader said that, the prices of cows at the nearby Pugu Cattle market were skyrocketed.  The survey shows that there was no any change of meat prices at Kariakoo market as these remained constant selling level as it was before. Both exotic and local breed chickens are far from their normal price as these were rarely seen and apart from that, their prices were unaffordable to ordinary people. 

The survey can reveal that, a local breed hen was fetched at a lower price of Tshs. 15,000, and a cock at a lower price of Sh. 20,000. Exotic chicken were sold at a lower price rate of between Sh. 7,000 and Sh. 10,000 depending on their weights respectively.  Irish potatoes commodity from which a favourite fried chips is made as a popular food for most young residents including adults in the city of Dar es Salaam remained unchanged at Tshs. 1,000 a kilogram. This price has been virtually remained at a constant level for about two years now in almost all Dar es Salaam markets and their suburbs. Other food commodities and condiments such as tomatoes and onions had been sold at minimum prices as their supply is constant. A kilogram of onion has been sold at Tshs. 2,400 whereas tomatoes have been fetched at Tshs. 2,200 a kilogram. Some interviewed buyers at most markets have kindly requested the authorities concerned from the municipal government to intervene such tremendous price increase which normally occurs during festivities. They were astonished by some traders who tend to benefit by increasing their consumable products at the expense of the religious occasions. The Kariakoo market statistician Nicolus Omolo from where all these commodities are purchased in bulk in the city says that, there has been a constant supply of most of these commodities since the start of the holy month of Ramadhan over a month ago. He said in a telephone interview that, prices of such commodities sometimes rises up whenever there is a high demand by consumers at a local market. He further said that, unscrupulous traders sometimes are to blame as they tend to rise up some food commodities during religious festivities as they take advantage of the celebrity for unknown reasons presuming many people would emerge to buy their products.   Omolo who is an economist by profession noted that, the situation is unavoidable as the demand for such commodities surge up within a short time and then the prices falls down to a normal business trend when such festivities comers to an end. Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated as the day of breaking fast as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ends. Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from dawn to dusk. Eid is a reward for Muslims who, apart from fasting, have restrained themselves from material and spiritual vices including, lying, cheating, violence and theft.

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