In Madagascar, we are witnessing a rise in the prices of basic necessities. For two weeks, in the markets of the capital, but also in the provinces, the kilo of different varieties of rice, a commodity which constitutes the basis of the Malagasy diet, has increased from 200 to 400 ariary. The prices of oil and sugar are also increasing. An increase that worries Malagasy households already hard hit 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 the stalls of various grocers, looking for the cheapest price. Jacqueline, a housewife, has just bought a bag of rice: “I couldn’t buy all the groceries I wanted. I have reduced the amount of oil and soap that I usually buy because now I don’t have enough money. “
To eat less
Reducing purchases, and even eating less, is what Beby, a home grocery deliverer, does: “Everything has increased. Life is becoming unbearable because we have had the coronavirus. Our salaries have been cut in half. Now there is this price increase. How are we going to live? At home, there are five of us and in the evening, we only cook half a cup of rice. “
Faced with customer dissatisfaction, the grocers justify themselves. They are not at the origin of this increase, explains Sarah. The liter of imported oil she sells in the market has increased by 600 Ariary in two weeks: “Prices should not increase but wholesalers are speculating. We have noticed that some hide their products even though they have a lot of them. There are people who think that we grocers are robbing them. But we depend on the price set by the wholesalers. I even stopped selling some products, like toilet paper, because the price keeps going up and customers are complaining. Before, we had about ten clients who made provisions for the month but now they don’t come any more. It is very random. It is not like it used to be. People buy very little. The Ministry of Commerce is putting 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 earn money that we leave our homes every morning. “
The speculation of certain operators
Contacted, the Ministry of Trade and Industry also points to the speculation of certain operators and ensures that checks and reminders concerning the retention of stocks are carried out. The depreciation of the Malagasy currency, the ariary, against the euro and the dollars also contributes to this rise in prices, the ministry added.