Kg of potatoes sells at JD1, highest price in recent memory

(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — The price of potatoes jumped to an unprecedented JD1 per kilogram for the first time in recent memory, raising questions about the reasons for the increased by disgruntled Jordanians, who argue that the commodity is locally produced and that its price should remain affordable all year round.اضافة اعلان

While some agricultural experts argued that the rise is caused by a shortage of potatoes in the markets, given that pricing is based on supply and demand, others claimed that it is the result of manipulation by some merchants, who control the commodity by reducing its quantity deliberately to hike its price.

Head of the Jordan Farmers Association Ibrahim Al-Sharif told Jordan News that a frost wave last March, and constant heat waves last summer damaged crops and killed many produce, ultimately causing a shortage in the local market.

“These reasons combined led to a decrease in potatoes, and the available ones were of poor quality,” he said. “That led to a significant increase in the prices of this specific commodity, especially since pricing is linked to supply and demand.”

He projected that prices will decrease in the coming weeks, “especially since farmers in the southern governorates are cultivating potatoes with utmost care until there are abundant quantities covering the market needs.”

But Mahmoud Al-Oran, director-general of the Jordan Farmers Union, said that the price of one kilogram of potatoes reached JD1 in some areas, “most notably in stores in west Amman.”

“Some merchants control the prices of vegetable and fruits, including potatoes, and they supply the market with small quantities of potatoes that are below the market needs, which ultimately contribute to raising the prices,” Oran told Jordan News.

“Potatoes stored in refrigerators are of very high quality and not as bad as some say,” he insisted.

Amid the differing opinions, and the absence of real reasons for the rise, the consumer remains the most affected, especially with dilapidated economic conditions and weakness in purchasing power.

Mohammad Al-Assaf, 30, a public sector employee and father of three children, told Jordan News that “some merchants take advantage of the citizens’ need for some basic and important goods, such as potatoes and tomatoes, for instance, and they raise their prices insanely from time to time”.

He added: “I might be able to buy potatoes at the raised price, but there are people who are disgruntled by the increase, even if it was just by a few piasters, due to the deterioration of their economic conditions”.

“The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply and the Ministry of Agriculture must intensify their control of the market, and set price ceilings for some basic commodities if necessary, to act as a deterrent to some traders who control prices”, he concluded.

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