Demand on food in Ramadan down 20% from previous years

Amman, President of the Foodstuff Traders Association Khalil Haj Tawfiq said on Saturday that demand on Ramadan consumer commodities dropped 20 percent from previous years, putting the downtrend down to a poor purchasing power and a liquidity shortage.

He said the peak demand on food items was on Wednesday and Thursday, describing demand on imported and locally-made food products since the start of the holy month of fasting as “below normal,” and came contrary to all previous seasons.

Haj Tawfiq told Petra in an interview that the discounts and strongly competitive prices had done little to help workers in the food sector lure citizens to shopping, especially in the days before the start of the holy month.

“Although sales had picked up in these days, they were not up to the expectations of traders, who pinned high hopes on the advent of the holy month, and who had run promotions that were sometimes below the cost to keep prices down with higher sales,” he explained.

Demand during the month of Ramadan shoots up on basic food commodities, notably rice, sugar, red and white meat, dates, juices, milk, cheese and vegetable oil.

Haj Tawfiq expected that demand will pick up next week when salaries are paid, but said it is unlikely that buying will be as strong as in previous years despite stable and declining food prices and the many promotions offered by malls and hypermarkets.

He said that the food price stability is due to the unprecedented recession experienced by the sector since the beginning of the year, in addition to the high competition and the decline in the prices of foodstuffs in the countries of origin due to the abundance of crop and production.

Haj Tawfik reiterated that there is unprecedented competition in the food sector in the local market as an attempt by traders and importers to secure liquidity and sell off the Ramadan consumer goods before the end of the season.

He pointed to the close cooperation with the various official regulators in order to ensure the availability of foodstuffs and their easy flow to the local market.

Jordan imports food worth 2.4 billion dollars annually, part of which is raw materials for industry and the rest is ready-for-consumption items, notably sugar amounting to 300,000 tons, rice 200,000 tons and milk powder 30,000 tons.

Source: Jordan News Agency