Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Buyers worry as food prices are high in Dar markets

As the holy month of Ramadhan starts today, food commodities sold in most Dar es Salaam markets are currently sold at a relatively higher price rates than as it was four months ago, the survey by the Azania post can establish. Prices of mostly loved food commodities used for breaking the fast such as cassava, Irish potatoes and many others have tremendously increased in most markets found in most suburbs within the city of Dar es Salaam. The survey carried out at Buguruni, Gongo la Mboto, Vingunguti, Temeke, Mwananyamala and Ilala markets has shown that, prices of food commodities have risen slightly higher, a situation which worries buyers most of whom are low income earners who comes to such markets to fetch for the food products. In addition to the edible oil which has increased tremendously in most shops in the city and the country at large, prices for rice has varied depending on the type s of their origin from which is bought in bulk. The survey by the Azania post has discovered that, the minimum price for a kilogram of rice is fetched at a retail price of Tshs. 2,200/- from Tshs. 1,600/- as it was sold four months ago. The maximum price rate for a kilogram of rice believed to be the best quality rice commodity is sold at the highest rate of Tshs. 3,000/- from Tshs. 2,400/- as it was fetched four months ago. This is an increase of 20 percent compared to their earlier price rate sold four months ago. When some rice traders were interviewed, they attributed the price hike with the scarcity of the product, which is caused by an import ban which came into effect since early this year. Commenting on the situation, an official with the ministry of trade and industries who spoke on condition of anonymity attributed the situation to the low supply of high quality of rice in Dar markets, the commodity is fast running out of stock. However, he noted that “the amount of commodity arriving from the producing regions in the country is lower because it is not the harvesting season. 

Maybe from the month of July the business will start picking up and the prices would go down”, he affirmed. He says the situation is more aggravated by the poor logistics on transportation and storage of the commodity from the major areas of the production in the country. Hardly two, months ago, the European Union in the country dished out Euros 4.5 million (Tshs. 12 billion) to enable facilitate the cultivation of rice fields in two regions of Iringa and Morogoro in the country. The project specifically aims at increasing competitiveness and improving the post-harvest value chain of smallholder rice farmers in these two regions to be accomplished by three representatives who are Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) country office, the Aga Khan Foundation and Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation. The sale of onions and tomatoes are miserable as the retail price of these commodities have risen thrice as much as it were sold before. Interviewed buyers said that, are astonished to see that a heap of the tomatoes could  be fetched at between Tshs. 500/- and Tshs. 1,000/-. In most cases, onions are sold in pieces at between Tshs. 100/- and Tshs. 200/- depending on their sizes. Sellers have attributed the high price rates for tomatoes and onions is due to the incurring rainy seasons for which they say farmers have stopped the production in production areas due to the long rains going on in most producing regions. Prices for heaps of cassava and Irish potatoes have increased, and these are fetched at between Tshs. 1,000/- and Tshs. 2,000/- respectively depending on the size, and these are negotiable through bargaining systems, says one seller at Buguruni market in an interview. One whole seller of the food commodities at Ilala market said in an interview that, the high price rates are attributed due to the higher costs of transport from upcountry regions where most of these commodities are grown. Samson Ayengo said in an interview that, there has been regular check up of vehicles carrying food commodities by traffic police as well as district officials of an area at several road blocks to see traders who transport food crops and charge them. However, last week the President had cautioned authorities both from the district and regional level not top charge farmers who transport food commodities weighing below 1,000 kilograms.

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