The pressures of global price uncertainty for staples, basics, and finished goods are becoming a significant threat to the purchasing power of people in the Dominican Republic. Currently, United Nations agencies rate at about two dollars (US$1.90) the minimum income that a poor person spends on daily food.
When asked what basic foodstuffs can be bought with two dollars, which the international organizations base as the “poverty line,” it can be said that RD$115, equivalent in pesos, is not enough for one large meal a day, which once again demonstrates the loss of purchasing power and the widening of inequality, aggravated by the crisis imposed by Covid-19.
In the case of fuels, one cannot buy more than a gallon of LPG, nor is it enough for a gallon of gasoline or a gallon of diesel. For a light breakfast, a Dominican can satiate his food needs, but it is not assured that he meets the necessary calories to avoid being included in the statistics of undernourished people.
Every day the international press reports on supply problems in the shelves of the commerce in rich countries, difficulties and price increases of fuels and their derivatives, in the maritime freight, and other external factors such as fertilizers for agricultural production.
Rice, water bread, eggs, chicken meat, and red beans are the most consumed products on the table of the less favored, and now with the increase in the prices of basic staples, another threat is looming.
According to the weekly price report of the portal preciosjustos.com, of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MICM), in the popular markets, one can buy white frying cheese and avocado, papaya, squash, berena, green bananas, plantains, and others. For example, the portal shows that the average price of a pound of papaya is RD$12.72, an avocado is RD$32.58, a pound of squash RD$25.86, sweet potato RD$21.91, eggplant RD$22.00, limes RD$4.80, sugar RD$9.26 a 5-pound bag, chocolate at RD$8.12 and spaghetti at RD$31.89.
Even though they can be combined to consume the equivalent of two dollars, these products require another expense, which is public transportation.
In the country, at least 90% of the provisions for agricultural production are imported. After the globalization of the markets, the shelves of supermarkets and grocery stores are full of finished products, including “delicatessen.”
Yesterday, agricultural researcher Manuel Gonzalez Tejera (Manegonte) reported new price increases in fertilizers. In June, a 100-pound sack of urea cost RD$1,800; in September was worth RD$2,420, 34.4% more; and as of October 27, 2021, the value was RD$4.64, for an increase of 67.9% in the Dominican market.
Triple 15 fertilizer rose from RD$1,700 in June to RD$2,370 in September and RD$3,257 on the 27th of this month. 20-5-20-4S went up from RD$1,880 to RD$2,38 and RD$3,254 in the reference period, while granulated ammonium sulfate went from RD$935 to RD$1,535 and RD$2,412. Ammonium sulfate ST increased from RD$820 to RD$1,420 and RD$2,919 between June, September, and October 27.