By Tedla Yeneakal (Capital) – This year’s New Year shopping cost has stayed the same as compared to last month for customary food, such as eggs and poultry, sheep, goats and oxen prices, according to Capital’s market assessment.
Capital has learnt that during the past week the price of chickens has remained within the range of 40-50 birr. The price of eggs has slightly gone up to 1.20 birr per egg, slightly up from a couple of months back market price of 1 birr.
Meanwhile, the price of sheep ranges from 300 birr to 600 birr, while goat prices vary between 500 birr and 600 birr. Some estimates have even placed the price of healthy sheep and goats at 1,000 birr. Meanwhile, one kilo of butter is being sold for 65 to 75 birr, slightly down from last Easter’s price of 80 birr.
As one of the most celebrated religious holidays, Ethiopians celebrate Enqutatash by feasting on sheep, goats, chickens and eggs.
Some anticipate that Doro Wot, the popular holiday meal of Ethiopia, which is prepared from chicken and eggs, will be part of this New Year’s feast in many families.
Traders Capital talked to attribute the price hanging about from a couple of months ago due to the high inflation that occured at the time.
In Ethiopia, holidays take a significant place in the society. Everyone may have a small variation in the way they celebrate them, but most rituals and traditions are basically the same. Among the many holidays celebrated, many of which a great deal of importance is attached to are religious. New Year, the finding of the True Cross, Christmas, Epiphany and Easter are the major ones.
For the celebrations of these holidays, it is a tradition to have some sort of meat prepared with lots of butter. Chicken, sheep, Ox are all slain in large quantities come holiday season. In the days leading up to the holidays, the overall demand for meat and chicken rises very high, which creates a hike in the market price of these animals.
To spend the holidays without at least killing a chicken, no matter how unaffordable the market price may seem, and preparing what has become the signature meal of the country, the Doro Wot is inconceivable to many households, market observer’s comment on the irrational consumer behavior of the Ethiopian society.
As of late, many people are heard complaining about the cost of living and the ever increasing price of food items. From the price of a kilo of meat or onions to the price of a kilo of peas, nothing is affordable by many consumers’ accounts. The price of a chicken or a sheep is especially lamented during holidays.
Flour price remains high
Although the government has distributed wheat to flour factories at a lower price and fixed to sell flour price at 550 birr per quintal, Capital learnt that it is still being sold at higher price up to 850 birr. The price announcement was made by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) a week ago.
The wheat was distributed to the factories at 350 birr per quintal.
A salesperson in one of the flour factories told Capital that the price for a quintal of wheat has not changed from what it used to be six months ago.
“We were selling 850 birr quintal and still we are. But after the government’s effort, I do not understand why my company is selling it at such a high price,” said the salesperson.
Another salesperson in Merkato shares his view, he told Capital that the factories that supply to him did not make any adjustment on the price.
However, Teshome Kassa owner and commercial manager of KOJJ Food Complex Factory, one of the largest flour factory in the country told Capital that his company is selling wheat flour at the price the government labeled.
“I don’t know what made them decide to sell at that price. In my factory we sell everything in the presence of representatives from the government. May be it is the distributors that are adding on the tariff,” said Teshome.
Owner of a bakery located around Megnagna area told Capital that for him there is no change in the flour market
“If the price of flour decreases the price of bread would do the same,” said the baker.
“Currently flour factories are getting enough input from the government, during the last few weeks our company bought 25 thousand quintals of wheat from the government and is producing 1400 quintals of flour daily at full capacity,” added Teshome.
According to Teshome the price would go down if all factories produce at full capacity.
“I think instead of producing flour they preferred to store the grain,” Teshome guesses.