Panic buying hits town: Food vendors and retailers buy to hoard

Some food vendors, retailers and consumers in Accra are rushing to buy food and toiletries in bulk to hoard as prices keep rising in the market.

According to some food vendors and retailers The Mirror spoke to in Okaishie, Mallam, Kasoa, Ashalley Botwe, Dome, Spintex, Agblezaa, Adabraka, Kaneshie, Mallam Atta, Nima and Maamobi, the prices of rice, oil, meat and provisions continued to increase. on a daily basis, which makes it difficult for them to run their business smoothly.

As a result, most of them, who attributed the high commodity prices to the fall of the cedi against the dollar, said they decided to buy products such as canned tomatoes, cooking oil, palm oil, rice, margarine, flour, sugar, beans and corn among others in bulk because every day new prices arrived.

Last week, for example, a sharp increase in the price of cooking oil went viral on almost all social media platforms. Twenty-five liters of vegetable cooking oil which sold for GH¢640 soared to GH¢1,000, palm oil went from GH¢55 a gallon to GH¢150, while a gallon of locally made coconut oil sells for between GH¢300 and GH¢450.

From last Saturday to Wednesday October 26, 2022, cooking oil wholesalers in Nima, Madina, Okaishie, Agbogbloshie and Kaneshie markets lined up just to buy a few gallons of oil to store before Christmas prices escalate. their misfortunes again.

A visit to some wholesale stores in Accra showed that prices were not uniform at this level. Each wholesaler seemed to have their own prices. The situation was the same in shopping malls.

For example, a two liter bottle of sunflower oil was sold for between 65 GH¢ and 100 GH¢ in some wholesale outlets depending on the brand. Some retailers were selling the same amount between 85 GH¢ and 150 GH¢ with the explanation that the cost of transportation also affected the items.

In some malls, prices were often more than double the price in wholesale and retail stores on the open market. The reason given was the high cost of renting space at the mall, utilities and import taxes.

Currently, most mall stores and some supermarkets have decided to remove their price tags. Customers must choose items and give them to sellers to scan for prices. The explanation given for this was that most of the items were imported and due to the rising strength of the dollar on a regular basis the prices were not stable.

A food vendor, Hajia Muni Adams, who cooked for sale in the morning and evening in Kanda, told this reporter that “with GH¢1,000 I could buy bags of rice, beans, meat, of fish, oil, tomatoes, onions and pepper in bulk to use weekly for my operations, but now with the same amount it is impossible to shop for a day. This affected the amount of waakye and rice served to customers. I sell from 5 GH¢, boiled egg is 2 GH¢ while fried fish is between 7 GH¢ and 20 GH¢.

A chop bar operator in Abossey Okai, Maame Nitriwaa, said she used to buy a cow, 10 goats, order dried fish and cane rat from a vendor at the Adabraka fish market , but things were now difficult.

“A big cow costs about GH¢15,000 in Ashaiman, or about GH¢5,000. I now get snails from Afram Plains because of the shipping cost. Prices have gone up so when we cook too, we have to sell a big snail for at least 30 GH¢. Last time I had to split the cost of the cow with one of my sisters who cooks for sale at Dansoman. We had to share the meat equally, so I decided to get some money to buy about three cows, slaughter them and keep them in my freezer for the next few weeks,” she said.

Caterer for corporate and social events, Zibel Mensah said last Monday that she had suspended all her activities and was going around with her driver from market to market in Accra and Tema to buy things in bulk to store.

“I have weddings and funerals to organize in the coming weeks that I have already charged for so if I don’t buy most items now I may have to top up with my own money to keep my customers happy . December is also coming and I will also be taking care of some corporate institutions so I am buying everything I will need for cooking, frying and baking to avoid further surprises from market women,” a- she indicated.

An oil and canned tomato wholesaler, Sandra Amponsah, said that although business was booming, they were not making a profit.

“Every cedi we make goes into various internal taxes and we have to pay our makers in dollars. As you know, the dollar is no longer stable so we are also running at a loss since everything is used to offset our debts,” she noted.

A baker, Ashai Odoi, who supplies bread to stores, said the cost of margarine and flour kept skyrocketing; therefore, she had decided to empty some of the rooms in her house to store flour and buckets of margarine to save costs.

“As you can see, bread is no longer the food of the poor. The round loaves that we used to sell at 2 GH¢ are now at 5 GH¢. The big loaf that used to cost 5 GH¢ is now 17 GH¢.

“We know it’s expensive, but we can’t do anything about it because petrol is just as expensive and that’s what we use in our bakery. Until the government does something about the prices of goods in town, when they go up, we will also increase our prices. In the end, the common man suffers,” she said.

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