Market realities, surge in basic food prices!

Nov 24, 2021, 12:11 PM

The recent sharp increase in food prices over the past months has raised serious concerns about the price of basic food and nutrition in the country. We all know that higher food prices have radically different effects across. 


Experts warned that increases in food prices have a dominant role in increasing inflation in many countries now. And that it would be misguided to address these specific inflation causes with general macro-economic instruments.

Many put blame on the global coronavirus pandemic. Though it has contributed to some extent, the nature and manner in which the price of basic food commodities is rising, calls for immediate attention. 

Evidence has indicated that price hikes most of the time are caused by greedy syndicate of hoarders and retailers, who out of their sheer greed push up prices of certain basic food commodities fast moving food items for no reason at all. 

What is really surprising, is the fact that this unholy trend starts almost a few months to the start of the holy month of ramadan.

For instance, a bag of American rice, which used to be sold at D1,075 is now sold at 1450 and even more in some centres within the Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region. 

Sugar, which used to be sold at D1,350 is now D1,800 and more. A 20- litre gallon of vegetable oil which was pegged at D1000 before is now costing D1700, with a cup being sold at D20.

The price of a bag of onion has also skyrocketed beyond imagination. A bag of onion, which used to be sold at D450 or thereabout, is now sold at D700 or more. 

These are just a few samples of the daily realities in our markets. 

Government needs to take a firm stance and ensure this broad daylight robbery by shopkeepers is addressed.

It requires ensuring effective price controls and making changes to importation policies.

Until then, the issue of price hike in The Gambia will remain a talking point for years to come.

We also urge the government to intensify monitoring of the markets by employing special teams, and take stern action against the unscrupulous hoarders and retailers. 

Even though The Gambia operates a liberal market policy, where businessmen are free to sell their goods, our openness to foreign investors shouldn’t be taken for granted. 

Most of the price hikes are orchestrated by foreign businessmen, who are only after huge interest.

Since the government of The Gambia has reduced most of the taxes levied on import food commodities in the country, therefore we hope that significant reduction, should be reflected in the price of basic food commodities. 

We hope that the government’s commitment to maintaining stability of food prices would be immediately translated into action. 

“ If we make wholesome, healthy food accessible and affordable for everyone, we make the choice to be healthy an easy one..”

Daphne Oz