By: Amie Ceesay
Despite the Ministry of Trade Industry and Employment issuing a press release on Monday concerning abundant food items in the country during this Ramadan period, shopkeepers and vendors in West Coast Region are still decrying prices of basic commodities while urging the government to intervene.
Reaching out to these vendors, Mariama Keita, one of the vendors in Brikama market narrated the hardship they face in the market with customers since the start of Ramadan due to the high cost of ingredients.
However, she elaborated on them saying that, the price of some of the commodities before Ramadan were not much expensive, example “prices of cooking ingredients like oil, potato, onion are not that high before Ramadan but now the prices have increased, a bag of onion is now D1300, cooking oil from D1700 to D2000, mayonnaise from D800 to D1000 even iodine salt has increased to D50,” she stressed.
She also said the price hike is not profitable to their business, since they buy the ingredients from others at a high cost and this is not encouraging especially since the sales are slow.
Sales are not very much encouraging because customers that is not financially strong cannot afford to buy some of these ingredients due to the high price.
However, in a similar comment, a shopkeeper in Brikama who wants to remain anonymous said buying imported goods is very expensive, bringing them from the ports to the shop requires a lot of money too and he cannot sell to the vendors at reduce prices.
Among their suggestions to solve the problem is to reduce the number of imported goods, especially from the neighboring country, and encourage agriculture by giving farmers farming tools and providing them with standard storage facilities to keep their harvest for sale.