Tanzania: Food Prices Stay Stable With Slight Rise in Inflation Over Ramadhan

The approach of Ramadhan is often accompanied by a rise in the price of food, especially common grocery items. Not so this year, thanks to enough supply from the previous harvest.

"We are grateful that this time food prices are fair. We have not noticed any price escalation so far, unlike previous Ramadhan seasons," said Hawa Hassan, a resident of Dar es Salaam.

Food prices remained generally stable in most markets on the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

Rice is going for between Tsh2,300 ($0.99) and Tsh2,400 ($1.04) per kg in most markets in Zanzibar, slightly higher than Tsh2,100 ($0.91) and Tsh2,300 ($0.99) range before Ramadhan.

One kilogramme of bananas is being sold at between Tsh3,000($1.3) and Tsh5,000 ($2.16), the same as in previous months.

The prices of yams on the Isles have been slightly higher these past few months, at between Tsh5,000 ($2.16) and Tsh10,000 ($4.34) per kg.

Tanzania's annual inflation rate went up to 3.2 per cent in April, from 3.1 per cent in March.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, April's inflation rate is the highest since December 2018, mainly driven by rising food prices.

The inflation rate in Tanzania averaged 6.99 per cent from 1999 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 19.80 per cent in December of 2011 and a record low of three per cent in November 2018.

Increase in April

In Zanzibar, the annual headline inflation rate for the year ending April increased slightly to 2.9 per cent from 2.8 per cent in March.

The rate is predicted to remain stable below five per cent, as food prices that mainly drive inflation remain fair.

Data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry shows that since March, wholesale prices of a 100-kg bag of rice ranged between Tsh130,000 ($56.36) and Tsh200,000 ($86.71) in Dar es Salaam. A 100-kg bag of beans cost between Tsh160,000 ($69.37) and Tsh210,000 ($91.05.)

"In Tanzania, prices are stable owing to ample supply occasioned by high opening stocks and above average harvest in 2018," stated the East African Grain Watch quarterly review.

Businesses tend to take advantage of the increased demand for food during the month of Ramadhan. Certain commodities such as fruits, potatoes, yam and dates are priced higher than usual.

"But with good prospects expected over much of the southern production region and some bimodal areas, the May to June harvest is expected to shore up supplies resulting in prices decreasing," the East African Grain Watch quarterly review said.

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