Minister aims to preempt food price surges

Steps to determine the amount of food commodities offered on the market are needed to curb price hikes, said Minister of Economic Development Othman Mohamed Othman.

According to the minister, the upcoming period will prioritize carrying out studies aimed at stabilizing prices. He admitted a three percent decline in agricultural production this year, but said the slump is temporary.

Othman also called for an expansion in the production of canned fruit and vegetables to offset the production gap, as well as a change in the mentality of Egyptian society and its extravagant behavior.

The minister, however, blamed the rise in vegetable prices, especially that of tomatoes, on the climate.

Meanwhile a number of importers attending SIAL–an international food exhibition organized in France this month–announced a recent increase in frozen meat and poultry imports, intending to meet rising local demand triggered by the approach of the Muslim feast of Greater Bairam. They ruled out further surges in the prices of imported meat, especially with the amount offered on the market now being doubled.

One importer, Ahmed Saqr, said extra amounts of meat are being contracted due to concern over possible increases in imported poultry prices, in light of the rising local demand.

Another importer, Alaa Radwan, said total frozen poultry imports have soared, with one kilo standing at LE15-16. Radwan says he offers kilos to local consumers for LE17.

In the same context, vegetable prices, as announced on the Ministry of Finance’s website, vary between higher-income and lower-income districts. Tomato prices stand between LE8-10 per kilo, potatos LE3-4, garlic LE10-17.5, aubergines LE2-4, cucumbers LE2-2.5, sweet peas LE3, green beans LE3-5, cabbage LE4-6, Jew’s mallow LE2-3, okra LE4-7, and red onions LE2-5.

A similar disparity was seen in meat prices, with white poultry prices ranging between LE15.5-16, frozen white chicken LE16.5-18, and local breeds LE16.5-19. The price of veal was between LE50-74, mutton LE50-65, and beef LE55-70.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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