Bahrain food prices vow by top traders

MARKETS in Bahrain have vowed to ensure that top quality products are available to customers at affordable prices despite increased freight charges and Value Added Tax (VAT).

Exporting countries have cut back on their production following unstable weather conditions, while logistical hurdles due to the Covid-19 crisis disrupted the supply chain leading to a crunch in the market.

However, supermarkets in Bahrain and prominent traders have reassured customers that fresh produce will remain in abundant supply across Bahrain with extra efforts being exerted by traders to ensure affordable prices.

Al Jazira Group general manager Ujjal Mukherjee said as the supermarket dealt with multiple suppliers its shelves at all its branches remained fully stocked ensuring availability of products.

“We always ensure we keep parallel supplies from different countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon as well as Spain and India; we also go and buy from the Farmer’s Market,” he told the GDN yesterday.

“Our main priority at Al Jazira is top quality and ensuring our shelves are filled up to ensure availability which is why we have four or five sources for each product.

“We don’t pass on the excess value which we pay to our consumers and we retain that within us so that our consumers get all the best products in all the market.”

Prominent businessman Ebrahim Al Daaysi said logistical problems and increased freight charges have severely impacted prices in the market.

He also added that ‘customers rushing to bulk buy prior to imposing the new readjusted VAT has led to reduced quantities in the market’.

“The biggest impact on the prices has been the lack of available freight containers to transport the produce and items from countries of origin,” he added.

“The cost of transportation and freight has increased four-fold globally and this has had an impact in terms of reducing availability and higher product prices.”

Global food prices decreased slightly in December 2021 month-on-month, though they were much higher throughout last year than in 2020, the UN said last week.


Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian told a Press briefing in Geneva that in 2021, the FAO Food Price Index was 28.1 per cent higher than in 2020.

Global cereal prices were at their highest level since 2012, on average 27.2pc above 2020 prices.

According to the UN official, in 2021, vegetable oil prices increased by 65.8pc over 2020; sugar prices soared to their highest level since 2016; meat prices were 12.7pc above 2020 prices; and dairy prices were 16.9pc higher than in 2020.

He attributed the increase due to the pandemic, the cost of fertilisers and climate conditions.

“People worried and rushed to bulk-buy in order to make some savings but this has led to an immense pressure on traders to re-stock their shelves but they were faced with Covid-19 challenges and their impact on freight.”

Bahrain Chamber Resources and Food Committee chairman and Midway chief executive Khalid Al Ameen told the GDN that teams continued working for 36 hours to change labels and implement the readjusted VAT figures into products.

“Our managers spent their New Year’s Eve readjusting prices on the shelves and it was a tough task but we did it because it is our job to serve the people right,” he added.

The GDN previously reported that officials launched an investigation following reports on social media about the high prices of vegetables such as cucumbers and bell peppers at Bahrain’s central market.

The price of cucumber increased from 400 fils per kilo to BD1 while the cost of a carton shot up from BD2.500 to BD7.500.

The price of eggplants soared from 500 fils to BD1 per kilo, while the cost of a carton increased from BD1.200 to BD2.600.

Bell peppers surged from BD1.200 to BD2.500.

However, the GDN yesterday found LuLu Hypermarket charging slashed prices on popular top-quality fruit and vegetables, with cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplants, oranges, strawberries, marrow and tomatoes going for as low as 290 fils per kilo and white cabbage at 190 fils per kilo.

These special offers will continue at the popular hypermarket with different fresh produce on display.




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