In Madagascar, we are seeing an increase in the prices of basic necessities. During two weeks, in the markets of the capital, but also in the provinces, the kilo of different rice varieties, a commodity that forms the basis of the Malagasy diet, has increased from 200 to 400 ariary. Oil and sugar prices are also rising.
An increase that worries Malagasy households, which have already been hit hard by the economic and social crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the Analakely market in the center of the Malagasy capital, customers scan various grocery stores and look for the cheapest price. Jacqueline, a housewife, has just bought a bag of rice: “I could not buy all the groceries I wanted. I reduced the amount of oil and soap that I usually buy because now I do not have enough money. ”
To eat less
Reducing purchases and even eating less is what Beby, a grocery store supplier, does: “Everything has increased. Life becomes unbearable because we have had the coronavirus. Our salaries have been halved. Now there is this price increase. How should we live? We are five at home and in the evening we only cook half a cup of rice. ”
When it comes to customer satisfaction, grocery stores justify themselves. They are not the source of this increase, Sarah explains. The liter of imported oil she sells on the market has increased by 600 Ariary in two weeks: “Prices should not increase but wholesalers speculate. We have noticed that some people hide their products even though they have many. There are people who think that we grocery stores steal from them. But we depend on the price set by the wholesalers. I even stopped selling certain products, such as toilet paper, as the price continues to rise and customers moan. Before we had about ten customers who stored for the month but now they do not come. It’s very random. It’s not what it used to be. People buy very little. The Ministry of Trade puts pressure on us by saying “where are your prices? Your price has increased but it should be that price” but the problem comes from elsewhere, wholesalers. We have to take a margin to live. It is to make money that we leave our homes every morning. ”
Speculation by some operators
When contacted, the Ministry of Trade and Industry will also point out the speculations of certain operators and ensure that checks and reminders about ordering storage take place. The depreciation of the Malagasy currency, the ariary, against the euro and the dollar also contributes to this price increase, the ministry further indicates.