Economy August 9, 2021 | 3:02 pm

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Food prices soar again

Santo Domingo, DR

Although inflation in the Dominican Republic has begun to decline after experiencing its highest peak in May, with 10.48% compared to the same month of 2020, still several foods that have a lot of presence in the basic basket continue to rise in price.

Among them are fresh chicken, which last July rose 1.90% and was among the products that contributed the most to the 0.91% increase recorded in the price index of the food and non-alcoholic beverages group, according to the report of the monthly variation of the consumer price index (CPI) of the Central Bank (BCRD) corresponding to last month.

“The chicken went up a lot, a lot, a lot. In the pollera they are selling it at RD$65,” complained a colmadero who yesterday sold the pound at RD$80.

Merchants consulted yesterday during a tour of some markets in the National District and Santo Domingo agreed.

“Everything is going up, the chicken is at RD$75, things are difficult,” said Juan de Dios, who trades this meat in the Villas Agrícolas sector.

Juan believes that chicken is in short supply because before he used to buy 100 units a day and currently only sells about 25, supposedly due to the lack of supplies, according to farmers. He said, however, that although the chicken has gone up in price, it is selling as usual.

The Dominican Price Information System (SDIP) records the pound of processed chicken at a maximum of RD$79 in supermarkets and RD$75 in markets.

Increased demand

In African swine fever (ASF) in the country, the demand for chicken has increased because, although this disease does not affect humans, pork consumption has decreased.

Demand has been so high that some supermarkets began to limit the amount of chicken their customers could buy. Faced with this situation last week, Listín Diario proposed through an editorial that the government offer exceptional support to poultry farmers to maintain production and meet the demand to control the rise in prices.

Although several times an attempt was made to obtain the opinion of The Minister of Agriculture, Limber Cruz, on this proposal, it was not possible. We were only told that the Minister would issue a public statement on the matter before noon today.

Other products have gone up.

To the increase of chicken in the country, other food products of daily consumption such as garlic, onion, and oil are added, which have presented significant increases in recent weeks in the different markets of the capital.

During a tour of the Duarte Avenue market and the Merca Santo Domingo, homemakers and local merchants expressed their concerns about the variation in prices of these products from the basic family basket.

“Garlic has risen to RD$145, onion varies from RD$30 a pound, depending on the quality and quantity,” said Ricardo, who is a vegetable trader in the Merca.

Emilio Garcia, another of the merchants in the area, said that garlic is being offered at RD$160, while a few months ago, the pound was up to RD$90.

He also indicated that currently, in the aforementioned market, the pound of onion is being marketed at RD$35 and that previously, it cost up to RD$20.

The Central Bank report indicates that so bad bread rose 9.09% in July, water bread 7.54%. Some pork derivatives, such as smoked chop and salami, recorded 1.49% and 3.19%, respectively.

Complaints from housewives

Similarly, some housewives surveyed said that due to the increase in many of the main food products, they have had to replace food with more economical ones.

Marisela said that due to the rise in the price of chicken, she has had to stop eating it for a few days and prefers to eat vegetables to save more. “I buy vegetables here at the Merca and we put it together with another company,” he said. Adriana Rivas, another housewives surveyed, also explained that she spends more than RD$500 a day to make lunch for her family of five.

Other consumers, such as Patricia, choose to buy beef because they consider pork unfit and expensive chicken.

Cumulative inflation

In general terms, at the end of July, inflation stood at 7.88%, and the cumulative percentage of the first seven months of the year (January-July) was 4.57%, according to the Central Bank report (BCRD).

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