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Many Jordanians report food price surges despite official reassurances

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Mar 23,2023 - Last updated at Mar 23,2023

According to the Trade Ministry there are sufficiently available quantities of vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products to meet the needs of all Jordanians throughout the month of Ramadan (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — Despite ongoing assurances from the authorities that the prices of food items will not increase during Ramadan, prices of several food items, including vegetables and fruits, have already increased on the first day of Ramadan, according to Jordanians. 

Yanal Barmawi, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply spokesperson, told The Jordan Times in a previous interview that the ministry’s inspection teams are extending their efforts to combat some retailers’ attempts to manipulate the prices of food-related items during the holy month of Ramadan. 

“Prices of food items are stable, and there will be no increase on the prices of food items during Ramadan,” Barmawi said. 

So far, over 850 violations have been recorded by the ministry's inspections team since the beginning of 2023, Barmawi added. 

“The ministry set a price cap for poultry and vegetables that has been effective since Tuesday,” Barmawi added. 

Any increase in vegetable prices can be attributed to the change in produce seasons as well as the change in weather that affects agriculture and seasonal produce, according to Barmawi. 

Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed last week that there are sufficiently available quantities of vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products to meet the needs of all Jordanians throughout the month of Ramadan, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra. 

The available quantity of imported fruits and vegetables exceeds the average consumption of the local market, Petra reported.

However, social media users are claiming that there is a vegetable shortage in the market, and have likewise reported an overall increase in the prices of fruits, vegetables and poultry prices over the past two days. 

“One kilo of cucumber is being sold for JD1.25 today in Amman, while a kilo of apples is sold for JD2. Chicken, on the other hand, is sold for JD2.60,” Jordanian Raha Omar told The Jordan Times. 

Omar added that the prices have been on the rise since last week.

“There’s vegetable shortage in the market as well,” Omar said. 

Lubna Isam, a mother of two children, said that there is a dairy product shortage in Amman. 

“I couldn’t buy yogurt yesterday; the supermarket shelves were almost empty,” Isam told The Jordan Times. 

Farmers are blaming the price increases on the retailers' high profit rates. 

Ahmad Hlalat, a Jordan Valley farmer, told The Jordan Times that the spike in vegetable prices can be attributed to a surge in consumer demand. He added that retailer profits on vegetables and fruits exhaust customers and suppliers. 

“But we as farmers don’t have an option. We don’t have the capabilities or a good location to showcase our produce,” Hlalat said. 

 

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