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Chicken Prices 30 Per Cent Higher Since June

by 5m Editor
26 July 2011, at 8:28am

EGYPT - Poultry prices have risen ahead of Ramadan, which starts on 1 August.

The increase in food prices accelerated ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on 1 August 1, consumers in Cairo complained to The Egyptian Gazette at the weekend.

The cost of a main staple food item such as poultry showed a mighty leap of nearly 30 per cent from June, Ahmed Mahmoud, a Government employee, said, accusing the traders of directly fuelling the price rises ahead of Ramadan.

He said: "Night and day, each family sadly discusses rising food prices," adding that the price jump in commodities is making a deeper impact on Egyptian households, which spend more than half of their monthly budget on food alone.

"Since January 25, the people are seeing a new wave of wild price increases such that most of the people can not afford to eat," he said, adding that the high price of food, not shortages, is the problem facing all householders.

Mr Mahmoud said that he did not know how to cope with the price hikes.

He told The Egyptian Gazette that meeting the basic needs of the poor must be a Government priority.

In response to increasing food prices, the Government has pledged to broaden its control over the market and arrest greedy traders.

Mohamed Fakhry, another consumer, said he was afraid that food prices would continue to increase during the coming weeks.

He said the escalation of food prices will force consumers to stop buying other goods.

High food prices will mean lower purchasing power. As incomes stay the same, consumers are likely to reduce their overall spending, buy basic food items only and reduce spending on non-food item, Mr Fakhry said.

The increase in white meat prices has accelerated before Ramadan, where the cost of one kilo of chicken showed a mighty leap of 20 Egyptian pounds (EGP).

Market analysts say the price increases are due to the heat wave, which gripped the nation during the past week and killed hundreds of thousands of chickens, and inflation rates that remained high. They blamed the heat wave and high inflation rates for causing more hardship for the people and snatching meat out of the mouths of the poor.

In Cairo and the coastal governorate of Alexandria, 220km north of the capital, the price of one kilo of mutton has reached EGP75 (about US$13), and is expected to jump to EGP80 during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, that is expected to start next Monday.

Consumers have demanded the Government to increase the nation's supply of meat and chicken in order to keep prices down.

Haj Hassan, a Cairo consumer, said: "There are no compelling reasons for such a rapid rise in the price of meat and chicken," calling on the Government to put pressure on private businesses not to increase the prices of these two commodities.

However, butchers and poultry shop owners said the increase in meat and chicken prices has multiple causes. These include the surging increase in the prices of animal feed, which jumped from EGP200 to EGP350 leading to rising meat prices, Mohamed el-Arabi, a butcher in the Cairo district of Bab el-Shaariya, said.

Poultry shop owners have also pointed to a likely role by the recent heat wave in raising the prices of chicken.

A poultry shop owner in Hadayek el-Qubba told The Egyptian Gazette: "Hundreds of thousands of chicken have died due to the rising temperatures that hit the nation last week. As a result, the chicken supply has dropped, where as demand for white meat is already up because prices of red meat is high."