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Rise in demand on food ‘reasonable’ ahead of storm — traders

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 18,2015 - Last updated at Feb 18,2015

AMMAN — Stakeholders on Wednesday said bakeries and supermarkets are witnessing an “increasing, yet reasonable” demand on basic food items, as people prepare for a blizzard expected to hit the Kingdom this week.

A “remarkable” increase in demand on food items started Wednesday afternoon, according to Raed Hamadah, representative of the food sector at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, who expected the demand to rise further as the polar front takes effect.

“The demand on main food items increased by 35 per cent so far. We expect it to reach up to 60 per cent in the next few hours,” he told The Jordan Times on Wednesday morning, adding that housewives were seen at shopping centres and supermarkets more than usual early in the day.

Hamadah said supermarkets are not overcrowded with customers and they are purchasing staple items in “reasonable” amounts, attributing this to the “short duration” of the expected snowstorm.

“Overcrowding stores depletes their stocks, which prevents some customers from finding the items they need,” he said. Some stores ran out of basic items, canned food and snacks during January’s snowstorm.

However, supermarkets and shopping centres currently have “satisfactory” stocks of food items that will cover the demand for “three to six months, depending on the type of the item,” according to Hamadah.

Demand on bread also went up this week but “within reason”, according to Bakery Owners Association President Abdul Ilah Hamawi, who said bakeries are working round-the-clock and producing double the usual amounts.

“The demand was very high on Tuesday night, but still less than what we witnessed over the last blizzard,” he said, noting that most customers bought between four to eight kilogrammes of bread. 

Hamawi noted that both bakeries and the authorities proved their readiness during the last snowstorm.

“People realised that bakeries were open and roads were cleared from snow… furthermore, those who piled large amounts of bread threw some of it away,” he told The Jordan times over the phone.

 “We renew our call on citizens not to buy large amounts of bread as all bakeries will be open during the snow,” Hamawi said, and major bakeries have generators in case of power cuts.

He added that the Trade Ministry has provided bakeries with enough flour for four to seven days depending on their location, noting that the early forecast of the blizzard helped bakeries plan ahead.

Jordan Chamber of Commerce President Nael Kabariti also stressed that food items are available in adequate quantities in the local market, urging consumers not “overstock” on products to prepare for the storm.

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Kabariti said malls, major shopping centres and retail markets will continue to serve customers despite weather conditions.

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