Fruit prices increase with rising demand

DUBAI - With the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, shoppers are thronging marketplaces to replenish their stock of eatables. This year, there was a noticeable increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables as well as other edibles a few days before the onset of the holy month, revealed a survey undertaken by Khaleej Times. Most sellers, however, deny it.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Sun 26 Oct 2003, 12:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:42 PM

Says housewife Saman Shezad: "Before any festival, hypermarkets increase the prices of the goods that will be in demand. I bought one kg of bananas for Dh4 last week, but this week the price has been increased by Dh2 because the sellers know that fruits are a necessity during the fasting."

In reply, Shree Kala, superviser of fruit and vegetable section, Carrefour Hypermarket in Deira, said price hike is only in the minds of shoppers. "Prices of fruits and vegetables keep fluctuating worldwide. This week the prices of certain fruits have gone up, including bananas, some varieties of apples (Fuji apples) and grapes due to the price fluctuation in the world markets. Besides, this is normal as prices go up and come down all through the year. It has nothing to do with Ramadan."

But other customers complained of the increase in prices as well as quality of service offered during rush periods.

Another shopper, Mohammed Ali, says: "I am certain that prices of fruits and vegetables as well as other goods are deliberately increased by holding them over and creating an artificial shortage in the market."

He said that before Ramadan last year, prices of several eatables, including dates, went up and the quality of customer service came down. "This year again, I noticed a slight increase in prices of fruits and vegetables. It has affected our budget as we also have to prepare for Eid," he said.

A salesperson from Lulu in Al Ghusais denies the allegation. He said that holding back perishable items was not possible because of their short shelf life. "We cannot create any artificial shortage because if we do not sell fresh fruits and vegetables they go waste. "

A salesperson from Spinneys says that this year the market situation for fruits and vegetables is stagnant unlike last year when the prices shot up before Ramadan. "In fact prices are lower this year. For example, price of oranges has decreased," he said. He further said that the fruit and vegetable market is like an auction house - if sold out, then the prices remain stable, otherwise they increase. "This year, we have a variety of fruits from South Africa. Therefore, there is no shortage in the market," he added.

Jamal Hussain from Kibsons International also said that the market prices for the fruits and vegetables have been at the same level as they were a month ago. "Only certain types of fruits and vegetables are not available throughout the year, which leads to an increase in prices," he said.

Mr Hussain further said that last year several fruits were sold below their cost. "The rise in prices for perishables are in line with the increase in prices for such commodities worldwide and has nothing to do with festivals," he said.

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