Rising Costs of Foodstuffs in the Month of Ramadan
Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims started over the weekend, and as usual Sierra Leoneans are experiencing an increase in the price of basic foodstuffs in the market.
Many residents are lamenting the increase in prices, pointing to the lack of price control in the market and the selfishness of traders as the main causes.
“People will wake up one morning and decide to sell foodstuff at whatever price they like, and this has made things worse because there are products that we use to buy less than we are buying them now. For example, Golden Gate butter used to be sold for Le10000 now it is being sold for Le12000. Basically, there have been an increase in the prices of all of foodstuffs in the market,” Osman Kamara, a Lumley resident said.
Sierra Leone has seen a sharp increase in food stuffs such as rice, palm oil, sugar, flour, meat, fish etc. over the past weeks.
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Mariatu Sesay makes a meagre income from selling bottles of water and can drinks from a basket at the side of the road. She used to make enough to buy rice for her family but prices at the market have doubled. Now they often go hungry.
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“In just over a year, the price of a bag of rice has more than doubled. You can’t buy anything with small money anymore,” Mariatu said.
“Things are now very hard. Honestly the prices. It’s hard. We don’t have the money for rice any more,” she added.
With global prices rising due to rising fuel costs and the war in Ukraine, the cost of basic food stuffs such as rice, flour and palm oil has increased dramatically in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone remains embroiled in economic crisis over the years, and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a threat to food supplies to Sierra Leone, which is dependent on foreign countries for much of its food supplies.
The government and the Ministry of Trade have over the years discussed range of measures to be taken against the rise of prices of basic foodstuffs, but there is no follow-up on the market.
Ramadan for millions of Muslims around the globe has been upended for two years running due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Freight costs have been significantly higher and there has been a disruption of the food supply chain.
“The authorities need to find a way to solve the rising costs of food commodities in the country. It will be very difficult during Ramadan under these conditions. In addition, our seas are invaded by foreign boats and our fishermen can not go beyond our borders. It is just frustrating, ” Fatmata Kandeh, a fish monger at Funkia Market said.
The deliberate increase in prices by unscrupulous business people compounded with the global crisis have left Sierra Leone Muslims frustrated as they observed the holy month of Ramadan in peace.