Trade Ministry updates current food commodities situation

Mar 13, 2024, 11:19 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

The minister for Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) on Monday, 11th March 2024 updated the public through a press briefing held at the Ministry on the current situation of the stocks and price levels of essential food commodities in the country.

As the Holy Month of Ramadan began on Monday, Minister Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof also used the opportunity to share with the public some of the factors contributing to the current price hikes and the measures adopted by the government through the MOTIE to ease the effect of the global price hikes on the prices of the essential food commodities in the domestic market as well as ensuring their availability throughout the month of Ramadan and beyond.  

Minister Joof expressed government's commitment to food security of the country by ensuring the availability and accessibility of essential food commodities for the public.

The Minister disclosed that his Ministry monitors the stock and price levels of basic commodities every week, saying the "main objective of the exercise is to ensure that the Ministry has first-hand information on the stocks and the prices of these commodities at all times for timely and informed policy decisions as well as engagements with importers and other relevant stakeholders to avoid shortages while at the time ensuring price stability."  

The minister therefore used the opportunity to share the current stocks of essential food commodities as of 4th March 2024.

The Honourable Minister noted that the stocks of rice have increased significantly from 5,254 metric tons in February to 24,973 metric tons in the week of 4th March 2024, which is a 375% increase. This current stock level of rice is sufficient for the month of Ramadan. 

In addition, he added, Laura’s Food Company is expecting 2,295 Metric Tons by 15th March 2024 while YONNA Enterprise is also making an arrangement to import 15,000 Metric Tons of rice from India.

“The Stock of Sugar has also increased considerably from 1,640 Metric Tons in February 2024 to 17,115 Metric Tons as of 4th March 2024, an increase of 943%. The stocks of flour, edible oil, onions, and potatoes have all increased in March 2024 and are adequate for the month of Ramadan.”  

"With regards to onions, in addition to imported ones, Mkay Agro Farms has started supplying the market with local onions and the Farm is expecting to produce 4,000 MTs this year from 2,500 MTs last year. Mak-Food is also expecting to harvest 1,500MTs which would be in the market around March 2024. BAKAF’s expected output is 2,500 MTs of onions this year and the farm will begin supplying the market around the first week of March 2024. The three farms are expected to produce a total of 8,500 MTs of onions this year," Minister Joof gave the breakdown,

In addition to the industrial farms, the Minister said, the women onion producers across the country are also expecting to start their harvest and supply the market by mid-March 2024. 

With regard to potatoes, he said Mak-Food is expecting a total of 6,000MTs of potatoes this year which is an improvement over 4,500MTs from last year's harvest. The farm will start supplying the market around 15th March 2024.

The Minister equally spoke on the average wholesale and retail prices of essential food commodities, saying as of 4th March 2024, the average wholesale price of 50kg of American rice is D2,000 as against D1,850 in February, 50Kg of Sugar is D2,700, 50kg of flour is D1,993, Edible Oil 20lts D1,600, and 50kg Cement is D340 (all remain same prices as February prices) while whole chicken (MTS) is D1,950 as against the February price which was D1,933 and chicken thighs (1.2kg) is D1,025 against the February price of D1,012.

"As stocks of most commodities increase in March, we observed a general stability in the wholesale prices except for a few which have increased slightly including rice and chicken legs," he disclosed.