HomeFeatured NewsFruit prices continue to soar... because of the heatwave!

Fruit prices continue to soar… because of the heatwave!

Despite the intervention of the Ministry of Trade and Export Development and the setting of profit margins for the sale of fruit, prices remain high, causing dismay among many Tunisian families, who consider the latest measure to be unserious and not really implemented on the ground.

President of the Tunisian Consumer Information Organisation, Lotfi Riahi, told AfricanManager that the purchasing power of consumers has decreased considerably, making it impossible for them to buy fruit, which has increased significantly, especially in the summer. He pointed to a number of difficulties preventing the application of the latest measure, noting that the problem lies in the distribution system.

To this end, he called for speeding up the digitalization of the distribution system from the farmer to the wholesale market and to the retailers, and stressed the need to review the agricultural map to determine the country’s needs in terms of crops, vegetables and other products.

On August 21, 2023, the Ministry of Trade had issued a press release informing all professionals concerned and consumers in general that it had decided to set a maximum uniform retail profit margin for the sale of fruit at 15%, provided that the maximum profit does not exceed TND1/kg in all cases, with effect from Wednesday August 23, 2023.

The Ministry has called on all parties involved to respect the aforementioned profit margin and to avoid any manifestations of price increases that would expose the perpetrators to the maximum legal penalties.

In parallel with this measure, its supervisory services, in coordination with the security authorities, are continuing to implement joint programs to combat monopoly, speculation and the diversion of legal channels to supply the markets with these products, the Ministry said.

This summer’s heatwave is to blame!

However, a number of traders interviewed by African Manager confirmed their refusal to respect the profit margin set by the ministry because “it does not cover costs” and called on the ministry to review and increase the percentage.

The rise in prices is attributed to the maximum temperatures recorded during the summer, which damaged a large proportion of vegetable and crop areas in various regions of the republic.

The heatwave had a significant impact on fruit trees, particularly rain-fed ones, leading to the destruction of a number of almond, apricot, apple and grape trees and, to a lesser extent, olive trees, despite irrigation and cooling measures.

As a result, low production has led to higher prices and an imbalance between supply and demand.

In general, Tunisian consumers faced a monthly price increase of 0.6% in August 2023 compared to July 2023, due to price increases affecting food, beverages and tobacco.

The National Institute of Statistics (INS) also attributed the rise in prices in August 2023 to the 2.3% increase in prices in the food and beverages group and the 3.2% increase in tobacco prices, while clothing and footwear prices fell by 4.7% at the start of the summer selling season.

Meanwhile, in the food and drink group, egg prices rose by 11.8%, vegetables by 5.1%, oils by 3.8% and fruit by 3.6%.


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