By Mustapha Jallow
Both buyers and vendors of food prices in the central part of Lower River Region of The Gambia have decried the prices f food commodities, which they say, are biting hard into their pockets and affecting the quality of food they can consume on their tables.
Both the consumers, buyers and vendors at the Soma market raised concerns regarding what they termed as “the daily price increases of food commodities” in their region.
D50 to D75 fish money is no longer enough
One Awa Badjie, a resident of Soma complained that the usual D50 to D75 fish money is no longer enough to cater for the family’s daily bread in the rural township.
“Sometime it is hard for us. We used to sell mangoes and oranges to be able to complement the food basket of our families. But now the high price of rice and other food commodities are affecting us a lot,” she said.
A cup of rice costs D6, while cooking oil, tomatoes, onions, are all getting costly on daily basis. Awa said these prices are far getting beyond the reach of the average citizen in Soma.
“This is affecting our living standard because everything is increasing on daily, weekly basis. Sometimes our daily fish money cannot provide the family a standard balanced diet,” she said.
‘The country is getting harder…’
Aminata Sidibeh, another resident of Soma also said complained that, “Now the country is getting harder. Before, with just D50, you can go to the market and buy the things you need. However, nowadays even D100 cannot satisfy you.”
Aminata went on: “We are not rich, we are poor people. We eat whatever we work for… we are living from hand to mouth. Nobody knows what will happen next, everything went on smoothly before, but now the rapid increase in prices is a concern to us all. Wherever you go you are bound to see price increase. Where are we headed to?”
Mrs. Sidibeh said that such an increasing phenomenon is being blamed on tax increments instituted by government. “The GRA should reduce the taxes that are causing the increment of the prices,”
Alieu Jallow, a shop owner at Soma for his part said that he collects his commodity supplies from Banjul.
Costs of transportation and other expenses affect prices
“After buying commodities, I need to take the cost of transportation and other expenses into account in determining prices and making profit.
“I buy American rice at D1, 000 and sell it around D1, 025; another 25kg American rice costs me D550. I sell it at D560. “I do this to gain little profit in my business,” said Jallow, a shopkeeper at the Soma market.
Jallow said the consumer should understand that it is not their fault. “What we spend is what we earn with little profit,” he said.
According to Momodou Barry, also a shop owner at Soma, he buys 20 litre oil at D900 and sells it at around D930; carton of tomato at D1, 010 and sells it around D1,020, and a bag of sugar at D1,150, which he sells at D1, 300.