With vegetables in high demand; prices skyrocket
This price increase is negatively affecting many families and low-income workers who form the majority of residents.
Prices of potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini and broccoli have increased during Ramadan because of the high demand for them as they are used in traditional Ramadan foods. In some cases prices are more than three times the normal, particularly in Sana’a, putting these vegetables out of reach of many Yemenis.
The price of 18 kgs of potatoes increased to about YR 3,500 when it previously was only YR 2,500. The price of a kg of tomatoes quadrupled from YR 100 to YR 400. A kg of garlic, imported from China, skyrocketed to YR 600 from its original YR 150 said Abdulbasit, a vegetable seller in Al-Asbahi area in Sana’a.
Ali, another vegetable seller, said vegetable prices increased between 30 and 300 percent because many people buy them in spite of widespread poverty among residents.
“It is normal for vegetable prices to increase in local markets at the start of Ramadan because there is no authority to coordinate vegetable distribution based on population in each governorate. There’s also no authority to regulate prices,” said Mohammed Al-Ba’dani, a vegetable seller.
Sadeq, a vegetable seller, said prices will decrease to reasonable levels in the second half of Ramadan because many poor people won’t be able to buy them, especially potatoes and tomatoes. It will cause a small recession.
Yemen, classified by the World Food Program as the poorest country in the Persian Gulf, faces price increases of wheat, sugar and milk as they’re used more during Ramadan.
Prices of wheat, sugar, rice and oil saw an unexpected jump of more than 20 percent.
Sa’ad Al-Deen Bin Taleb, the Minister of Trade and Industry, pledged there will not be any shortage of food this year. “This Ramadan will set a higher standard because the ministry will be able to control prices.”
Many Yemenis criticized the ministry’s absence in controlling food prices in local markets. They asked how the price of 50 kg of sugar could increase by YR 1,000 in one day.
Merchants in Sana’a said the increase comes from the high demands on these substances and the lack of supply made some merchants raise prices.
In a meeting of the Yemeni cabinet, the government acknowledged that food prices have increased. The cabinet described the increase saying, “It is because of some unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the need of people for these foods during Ramadan.”