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Government to halt exports of foodstuff until end of Ramadan

By Laila Azzeh - May 07,2016 - Last updated at May 07,2016

The government will halt the export of sugar, rice, powdered milk, beans and freekeh until the end of Ramadan to ensure enough supplies are available to meet rising demand (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN – The Industry, Trade and Supply Ministry on Saturday decided to halt exports of foodstuff until the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, expected to start in the first week of June.

The decision was prompted by a “need to ensure the availability of basic food items in the market at reasonable prices during Ramadan”, the ministry’s spokesperson, Yanal Barmawi, said.

“The decision is a regular one that we take each year ahead of the holy month. It seeks to increase the country’s storage of all food commodities, especially those consumed more during Ramadan,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The decision includes sugar, rice, powdered milk, beans and freekeh, which is made from roasted and sundried green wheat.

“The ministry takes several measures before and during Ramadan, including providing the markets with pricing lists, intensifying monitoring campaigns and raising consumers’ awareness of healthy consumption habits,” Barmawi noted.

In Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset. During this month, Jordanians’ consumption of food and drink tends to increase.

However, the Foodstuff Traders Association (FTA) criticised Saturday’s decision, describing it as “useless”.

“The ministry already has strict rules about exports, and industrialists have to follow complicated procedures to be allowed to sell their commodities abroad,” FTA President Khalil Haj Tawfiq told The Jordan Times.

He added that the decision was taken without consulting the syndicate.

“The ministry should have provided us with the amount of local food stock of each basic commodity before banning their export. Demand on some food items declines during Ramadan, while increasing on others,” Haj Tawfiq said.

But Barmawi said the ministry met with representatives of the trade sector and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority two months ago to expedite clearing procedures of foodstuff.

 

“The traders asked us to reorganise exports in a way that balances local market needs,” he said. 

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