By Muhammed Sailu Bah Prices of some basic food commodities have hiked in the market as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan commenced late last week. This new development was confirmed by both customers and vendors of these commodities when the reporter visited the Albert Market in Banjul during the weekend. Speaking to Lamin Minteh, a retail vendor who sells some basic food commodities, he said two weeks ago the price of a bag of sugar was D1,200 and that when Ramadan approaches it rose to D1,300. “As we are in the Ramadan now the bag of sugar is costing D1375 and D1,400 in some areas,” he said. He also noted a sharp decline in the number of customers coming now compared to previous years. “A lot of customers used to come and buy the commodities we sell during Ramadan but nowadays the business is very slow,” he revealed. Mr. Minteh said some people wrongfully blame the people doing business for hiking goods without any legitimate reasons. “We don’t just increase our prices as we wish. The retail prices of the commodities we sell are always dictated by their costs from wholesale traders and importers,” he added. Mbye Jeng, a canteen owner doing the same business as the previuos vendor, said certain commodities are even scarce now such as milk powder which is always in high demand during the fasting month of Ramadan. “Juice and foil paper are also not available since the fasting month began,” he disclosed. Mr. Jeng also said that the price of a bag of Irish potatoes has risen from D550 to D700 at the start of Ramadan, likewise a bag of Onions from D500 to D675 and the 20 litres of vegetable oil from D900 to D940 and the list goes on. On the retail prices, he said a kilo of Irish potato has hiked from D30 to D40. One of the customers called Amie Jagne, who came for shopping to prepare for the evening meals, lamented the price increases. “My money is finished and I’ve not got all that I needed because of the price increases,” he lamented. Visiting the abattoir, this reporter was told by the butchers that the prices still remain the same as before the start of the fasting month. He said meat and bone is D175 per kilo, beef steak is D225 per kilo and that mutton is D225 per kilo. The butchers also noted a slowdown in business.]]>
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