Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2014 Contents A8
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 14, 2014
Congratulates Hajjin Rasheeda Ibrahim,
recipient of the Chaconia Medal (Gold).
You have been and continue to be an inspiration to
women through your sincere dedication and selfless
efforts with Anjuman Ladies and the wider community
for over 60 years.
May Allah (swt) reward you and your family with the
best of health and happiness in this world and with
Jannatul Firdaus, Ameen.
IN TRINCITY MALL
1000 sq. feet.
Food prices are on the rise.
The increase has been gradual in
the last two years, despite the Gov-
ernment s battle to keep food inflation
Statistics obtained from the
Trinidad Guardian archives showed
that in February 2011 the price of 15
items---rice, flour, sugar, powdered
milk, cooking oil, cheese, frozen whole
chicken, onion, margarine, Crix,
ketchup, macaroni, potato, bread and
lentil peas collectively cost $189.22.
By December 2011 the same food
basket increased to $194.48. Ten
months later, in October of 2012, the
basket dropped by 11 cents to $194.37.
There were increases in the price of
flour, onion, crix, ketchup, macaroni,
potato and lentils, while cheese
dropped from $51.99 a kilo to $42.99,
and a 225g tub of margarine was also
slashed from $10.67 to $7.99
Hearing the cries from those affect-
ed by rising food prices, the Govern-
ment removed VAT from 7,000 food
items in November of 2012. This was
followed by additional discounts on
rice, flour and oil in December of
2013. Two months ago, the prices on
food items were also reduced.
Fast track from October 2012 to
September 2014, the prices of the 15
commodities have jumped from
$194.37 to $217.75---an overall increase
of 12.03 per cent, forcing consumers
to dig deeper into their pockets. This,
despite the Ministry of Food Produc-
tion s boast in June that food price
inflation stood at 3.5 per cent---the
lowest in years.
We are offering discounts to woo
President of the Supermarket Asso-
ciation of T&T Vernon Persad said
in the last 21 months the majority of
items have increased. The price of
rice, sugar, oil, dried beans and
imported lamb went up.
Persad said the key contributor to
this was that supermarket owners
were not able to access foreign
exchange at commercial banks to buy
goods from foreign suppliers.
"They (suppliers) no longer hold
goods for us, but sell it on the mar-
ket. This has put us in a situation
where we have no choice but to pur-
chase from a second or third supplier
whose prices are far more expensive.
We are seeking the conscience of
the banks of the volatility of what
we are dealing with."
He said the price of flour, a basic
item, has remained steady.
In order to stay competitive, Persad
said, supermarket owners have been
slashing their profits by upgrading
their businesses and offering specials
and discounts on foodstuff to woo
customers. There are approximately
300 supermarkets in T&T.
"The price of food has always been
upward. If we had kept our mark-up
constant, food prices would have been
far higher than what it is today."
Persad said during the rainy season
consumers face the highest movement
in food prices.
"We have to look at the country s
$4 billion annual food import bill. It s
time we start producing some of the
foods that we import at cost effective
This was one of the measures that
Persad said was discussed by the
Standing Committee on Food Prices
which was formed in June by the
Ministry of Trade.
The committee was established to
address issues affecting the food value
chain and arrest the issue of spiralling
Persad said he noticed that
FOOD PRICES RISING
Flashback...A store attendant replenishes the shelves with flour following the Prime Minister's announcement of a
20 per cent discount on rice, flour and oil in celebration of Eid and Emancipation in July. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Continues on Page A9
A customer shops for
cereal at a grocery store
in Port-of-Spain recently.
Lee Yuen: We have no control over inflation
Watchdog on supermarkets needed
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