You are here

Consumer society says vegetables overpriced; ministry, merchants contest claim

By Omar Obeidat - Oct 12,2015 - Last updated at Oct 12,2015

In this recent photo, consumers shop for vegetables at a market in Amman (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — As prices of some vegetables have been on the rise over the past weeks, the Consumer Protection Society (CPS) accused retailers of being “greedy” and using “baseless excuses” to hike costs on shoppers, a charge dismissed as baseless by a government official and a major supplier. 

In a statement, made available to The Jordan Times Monday, CPS President Mohammad Obeidat called on consumers to boycott vegetables that see a sharp increase in prices and to reduce their purchases of items considered relatively expensive as households need to balance their spending budgets. 

Obeidat called on the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply to set a cap on the prices of some vegetables such as tomato, zucchini and cornflower, claiming that traders are charging exorbitant prices to increase their profit at the pretext that production at this time of the year is usually lower. 

Ministry Spokesperson Yanal Barmawi, however, said prices are currently lower than a week ago as production in certain areas has started to offset the drop in other agricultural areas, adding that prices are set to continue a downtrend in the coming few days. 

“If prices go up in a way that is not justified, the ministry will cap the prices,” Barmawi said, indicating that the hot spell that hit the Kingdom some six weeks ago has affected production quantities. 

Last week, a kilogramme of tomatoes was sold in many places in Amman and other cities at JD1.25, while now it costs JD0.85, said Zuhair Jweihan, president of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruits and Vegetables. 

Jweihan argued that Obeidat is offering “inaccurate information” on the market, noting that vegetable prices have seen tangible increases not only in Jordan but elsewhere in the region due to the hot weather. 

Over 20,000 green houses for vegetables in Mafraq were damaged by the hot spell, he indicated, adding that vegetable supplies at this time of year usually drop due to the shift in the production season from Mafraq to other areas such as the southern desert and Wadi Mujib. 

In the coming two weeks, prices will go back to normal, he said. 

Commenting on CPS’ call to boycott expensive vegetables, Jweihan, who owns farms in the Southern Ghor, said consumers should reduce the amount of vegetables they purchases.

The merchant noted that shipments to Gulf countries, which he said are major importers of Jordanian produce, have gone down sharply due to the decline in production. 

Barmawi agreed, saying that farmers would avoid extra costs to ship to other countries because prices in the domestic market are currently feasible for them. 

Jweihan noted that Jordan’s production of vegetables is around 2.5 million tonnes a year, of which nearly 950,000 tonnes are exported. 

 

Jordan is ranked ninth internationally in terms of vegetable production, he said.  

up
115 users have voted.


Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.

PDF