Rice packed in a shop at Serrekunda Market

By Makutu Manneh / Rohey Cham

Price of sugar, rice, and onion among other basic commodities, is on the rise since the beginning of 2019.

Foroyaa reporters who went out and about visiting various markets within the greater Banjul Area and the West Coast Region, have confirmed from vendors the reason for the frequent rise in prices of basic commodities, and this they say has affected their business. In the same vein, consumers have also raise concerns on the frequent price rises and call for a better solution regarding this issue.

Sainey Jawara a lady vendor at the Bakoteh market said the price of rice is very high; that there are many different types of rice sold in the market, but that ‘Sadaam’ rice is in high demand.

She said a bag of ‘Sadaam’ rice now costs D1,600; that because of this, she sells one cup of this rice for D7. This she said does not yield any profit for her in her business.

Sainey said she now buys a small quantity of vegetable oil due to the high cost, noting that she cannot afford to buy larger amounts for her business. She said a 20 litre container of vegetable oil costs D850 and the price keeps on fluctuating. “There is no price control in the market and wholesalers sell anyhow they want,” she pointed out. Sainey said imported onion costs D700 per 25 kilogram bag and locally grown onions cost D500 per bag; that she reselling onions causes difficulty due to their low demand.

Amongst the challenges they face in their businesses at the market, Sainey said is the payment of rent for their canteen, including licenses and income tax to the GRA. “I know Government is trying but they should add more effort and look into the prices of basic commodities,” she point out.

Muhammed Camara a customer at Bakoteh, reiterated a similar comment regarding the rise in prices of basic commodities. “Negotiating with vendors is not easy. It takes time to convince them because of the high price of commodities,” he said.

Abdouraman Jallow, a shop owner in Brufut raised the issue of the frequent rise in prices of rice which he said does not have any control.

Isatou Jallow, a middle age vendor at the Serrekunda Market, said there a frequent rise in the price of basic commodities; that Government should bring the price of basic commodities down and it affordable for people.

Muhammed Barry a shop keeper in Banjul decried the hike of prices of the basic commodities. He said most of his customers buy American rice but the price has increased from D1,000 last month, to D1100; that the price of sugar has increased from D1,200 last month, to D1,400; that a 20 litre container of oil was D950 last month and has increased to D1,100; that a bag of Onion is D500 for the locally produced one and D700 for the imported one; that due to this increase in prices, he is now receiving a low sales. “I have lost a lot of profit from these commodities especially the Onions; that everybody is not equal and customers keep buying in small quantities which is not favourable.

Barry concluded by pleading to Government to help decrease the price of food commodities because they tax payers and also pay rent for their shops.

Binta Sarr a consumer residing in Banjul said she buys her ingredients for cooking from the Banjul market but noted that due to the high price, things are getting hard for her. “Everything in this market is expensive. One needs to have enough money to buy what is needed,” she said.

She complained that Onions are the most expensive commodity in the market now. “No matter how much money you use to buy onions, you will not be satisfied because it is very small and we use onions to cook most of the food we eat,” Binta lamented.

“Government should help the people especially the youth and vendors, because we are all struggling to live in a better Gambia,” Binta concluded.

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