Dar es Salaam — Prices of major food items in the city have started rising ahead of the festive season with traders warning that the prices may go up further later this month.
The Citizen's survey in various city markets established that after relatively stable prices of rice, the most used cereal crop during the festivals and bananas in the past two months, have marginally risen.
Retail price for a kilogram of rice in the city increased to between Sh1,600 and Sh2,200 by last Friday, slightly up from between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000 at the start of October.
Wholesale prices for a 100 kilo bag of rice was ranging between Sh130,000 and Sh180,000 in Tandika, Kinondoni and Temeke markets.
Wholesalers attributed the price increase to supply cut following the harvest season end in several regions, which largely supply their produce to the city.
"Wholesale prices in places we obtain the items have slightly gone up, so we have no option but to raise prices," said a trader, Mr Peter Kato, adding that in his 41 stores he used to receive up to 150 bags per day, but he now receives 130 bags only.
Meanwhile, the price of a bunch of banana was ranging between Sh18,000 and Sh25,000 last week, up from between Sh15,000 and Sh22,000 in the period under review.
Speaking on the situation, banana department secretary at Temeke market Said Mzuzuri said there is a shortage of supply even though the demand is still normal.
"The supply of bananas has gone down, something which pushes the prices up," Mr Mzuzuri said.
The survey also established that the price of beef at most butcheries at city markets were relatively stable in the past three months and ordinary people afforded them.
A kilogram of ordinary meat is sold at between Sh5,500 and Sh7,000 while beef steak's price ranges between Sh7,000 and Sh8,000.
Meanwhile, goat wholesale prices also rose to between Sh70,000 and Sh130,000 at the end of last week, higher from between Sh60,000 and Sh110,000 in August while traders say the prices may go up further in the coming few days because of a huge demand.
Goat wholesaler at Vingunguti Darajani Musa Abubakar said there was a limited supply despite the growing demand.
According to him, he said if the situation persists in the next few day, there will be no goat that will be sold at less than Sh100,000.
The survey has also shown that chicken meat and egg prices have slightly risen. At various markets, the price of a broiler chicken has gone up from Sh5,000 to Sh7,500 while for an indigenous chicken it ranges between Sh12,000 and Sh15,000.
Generally, a broiler chicken is sold at between Sh7,500 and Sh15, 000 while an indigenous chicken is sold at Sh15, 000 to Sh24, 000 depending on size.
The price of eggs has remained at between Sh7,000 and Sh9,000 for a 30-egg tray.
"Chicken feed prices have gone up to Sh65,000 from Sh60,000 two months ago and veterinary charges have also increased," said Ms Neema Justine, a chicken breeder in Kitunda- Gongo la Mboto over the weekend.
Buyers said some meet sellers hike prices during the festive seasons because of the high demand.
"This is normal for traders. They always take advantage of the holidays because of the high demand," said Safia Musa, a resident of Vingunguti.
Buguruni Market's chairman Mr Morocco Milanzi said the business trend at the market during Christmas had been influenced by the supply and demand of the items.
"Demands are higher while most products supply is down that is why many traders hike prices during the festive season," he said.
Some traders cited increased transportation costs and wholesalers low supply due to high demand from upcountry regions as the main cause of increased prices.