Citizens boycott chicken price hikes

WhatsApp Image 2021-04-16 at 9.30.16 PM (1)
Shoppers walk by a fridge stacked with packaged chicken at a retail store in Amman recently. (Photo: Saher Qaddarah/JNews)
AMMAN — Citizens have recently launched a campaign on social media calling for a boycott of chicken across the Kingdom. The boycott comes after poultry prices rose to JD3 per kilo during the holy month of Ramadan, according to one store owner.اضافة اعلان

“Do not wait for the prices to go down, boycott and be the decision maker,” the campaign urges. Citizens are calling for consumers to boycott chicken for several days until prices drop, claiming that current prices are unjustifiable and are intended to exploit citizens during Ramadan.

Different parties interviewed by Jordan News pointed the blame at each other, deflecting responsibility for the rise in prices.

One politician blamed the price hike on local chicken distributors. “The price of imported frozen chicken did not rise, but the local fresh chicken prices did. Therefore, merchants have nothing to do with this price hike,” said Khalil Haj Tawfiq, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.

“A hike in chicken prices is a common practice we face every year. Distributors claim that the hike is due to increased demand, but this year the demand significantly decreased,” he added. Sellers are “not committing to the price cap; the government needs to take measures.”

The National Societyof Consumer Protection (NSCP) supported the boycott and urged the Ministry of Agriculture to step in and allow the importation of chicken during Ramadan. The NSCP believes that merchants are monopolizing poultry prices, and are not committing to the price caps set by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply.

“We support any poultry boycott campaigns adopted by citizens,” Mohammad Obaidat, chairman of NSCP, told Jordan News. “This price hike is unjustifiable.”

“Stores, groceries, supermarkets, and malls are not committing to the price cap imposed by the ministry. We received hundreds of calls over the past week complaining about the high selling price,” Obaidat added. In an official statement, the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply set caps of JD2 per kilo of fresh chicken, JD1.7 per kilo of frozen chicken, and JD1.4 per kilo of live chicken, to help control price hikes.

Obaidat also stressed that the government needs to counter and prevent monopolies by importing chicken and other commodities that are sold at unfair prices and tightening all legal measures.

Grocery shop owners claimed that the hike is mainly due to a shortage in poultry numbers and farmers raising the prices of chicken.

Khalid Hnefat stated that an agreement with stakeholders was reached to distribute poultry within a week according to new prices per kilo as follows; JD1.8 for fresh chicken, JD1.65 live chicken, and JD1.5 for frozen chicken.

The minister stated that this agreement will regulate the supply and prices during the next few days.

The meeting was attended by the heads of the Farmers Union, the Jordanian Poultry Producers Association, the Poultry and Fodder Association, Poultry companies, and representatives of small poultry farmers.

A store owner in Amman, Haney Sa’adeh, said that he sold fresh chickens at his store yesterday at the price of JD1.7 per kilo. He said that he is being “considerate” by foregoing profit.

“I know people are financially struggling in Ramadan,” he said. “That’s why I sold my chickens at zero profit, the same price at which I bought it from distributors. People are blaming us for the hike when it’s the farmers’ fault.”

Consumers expressed anger and frustration with the unjustified price hike.

“First they raised oil prices, and now chicken? These items are highly demanded, particularly during Ramadan, they must be sold at reasonable rates,” said Ghazi Al-Talafeeh. We have families to feed.”

Likewise, Ahmad Khaliah said, “The government should really take measures. Traders in Jordan are violating consumers! This is insane, I bet they’ll use the pandemic as an excuse.”

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