The General Association for Food Stuffs Merchants in Amman has worked to ensure essential food supplies are available for the holy month of Ramadan, which began June 29th in Jordan.
Association chairman Samer al-Jawabreh told Al-Shorfa there are sufficient supplies to meet rising demand for food items during Ramadan.
“The association has taken the necessary precautions in order to provide essential Ramadan food items since the start of June and has followed a plan to ensure their availability in large supplies as a way to control prices,” he said.
Demand for food items can rise by as much as 40% during Ramadan in comparison with other months, he said, and spending on food items can reach 120 million Jordanian dinars ($170 million) compared with between 70 and 80 million dinars ($100 to $113 million) during other months.
The association has reached an agreement with Jordan’s main malls in order to avoid price hikes, he said.
“Implementing the strategy during Ramadan is important since Jordan imports between 85 and 90% of its food, which is affected by global food prices and their fluctuations,” al-Jawabreh said.
“People should not rush to excessively stock up food because this is a bad practice,” said Sheikh Yahya Khaldoun, imam of a mosque in Amman. “Ramadan is the month of worship and people should spend it being devout, worshipful, charitable and giving to those in need.”
“Well-off families could feed the poor and contribute to iftar banquets for the needy during Ramadan,” he told Al-Shorfa. “There are many families who go without their daily meals and in light of the difficult economic conditions and high prices, all segments of society should stand together, especially during Ramadan.”
Khaldoun stressed that merchants should not take advantage of people by raising prices during the holy month.
Family food spending rises
High demand for food items and other Ramadan products has become a habit associated with this month as families spend two to three times more than usual, said economist Hossam Ayesh.
High demand pushes up prices because it outstrips supply, he said, so merchants take advantage of the situation to increase their sales and profits.
“The large foreign workforce in Jordan and the more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees play a huge role in raising demand for food items,” he said.
Abdullah Massoud, a merchant and father of four, said he tries to stock up before Ramadan.
Massoud told Al-Shorfa most of his income goes towards buying food for the holy month so he can invite his relatives, because he feels this month gives him the chance to meet them and enjoy time together.
“It is difficult not to have a feast every day during Ramadan because it has become a habit amongst people in Jordanian as well as Arabic society,” he said.
“The fasting period is very long this year, so those observing Ramadan have a long time to think about what food they crave,” he added.
Originally published on http://al-shorfa.com