MARKET price-survey in Dar es Salaam has revealed that food prices have remained the same despite the onset of harvesting season in the main food producing regions of Rukwa, Iringa, Mbeya and Morogoro.
Retailers in Tandale, Temeke, Buguruni, Mabibo and Mwananyamala markets said prices were unlikely to drop so long as transportation costs remain high due to increasing fuel prices.The survey by this paper came in the wake of a recent move by the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) to ferry 5,000 tonnes of maize from the Southern Highland regions in place of private transporters.
The consignment was delivered to the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for city based millers to procure grain in close proximity. Gwandumi Gwamaka (41) has worked as a dealer at Tandale market in Kindondoni district for the last 14 years and he attributed high commodity prices to fuel prices.
"Transporters always complain about increasing costs of transportation from production regions to the market. Fuel and other expenses complicate the situation. "We don't enjoy selling commodities at hiked prices but we have little choice. The move by the TPDF to transport grain at minimal costs was excellent," he observed.
Hamisi Shungu (38) of Temeke market spoke of the evident diminishing purchasing power among his customers who always complain about soaring prices. "It is painful for a kilo of rice to sell at 2,600/- as though it is from the Philippines. Beans selling for between 1800/- and 2400/- depending on the variety, is equally unfair.
But who is to blame? There should be a mechanism to reduce transportation costs," Shungu suggested. Mariam Tengule (28) commended the army for the positive gesture to alleviate people's hardships through availability of food at affordable prices. "The army has helped consumers in Dar es Salaam.
The next step should be distribution of food to intended destinations for consumers to feel the difference," Mariam proposed. However, she is worried that the mitigation might not be realized unless well monitored as the same consignment might be sold at equally hiked prices for traders to realize super profits.
Yusuf Ahmed Omar (34) from Zanzibar was found buying potatoes in bulk from Tandale market to go and sell them in Zanzibar. He admitted that eating potatoes or rice was almost becoming a luxury as prices keep increasing by the day.