The year 2022 began with significant increases in some agricultural products. However, the National Council of Traders and Businessmen of the Dominican Republic (Conacerd) forecasts price increases in meat, fish, cereals and vegetables.
So far, articles of the basic food basket such as bananas, eggs, chicken and oils continue the trend of rising costs, which impacts the working capital of traders and the pocket of consumers.
The increase in the prices of these foods is being felt in supermarkets, grocery stores and markets.
Today, a pound of chicken in grocery stores in the National District sells for RD$80.00, a unit of plantain for RD$25.00 and an egg for between RD$8.00 and RD$10.00.
In the Mercado Nuevo de Villas Agrícolas during the first week of January, a banana sold for as much as RD$17.00. Yesterday it was between RD$16.00 and RD$12.00 for the barahonero and the azuano.
While in supermarkets, oil in 1.8 liter (64 ounces) presentation is around RD$270.00 and RD$300.00.
Presidents of traders’ federations consulted attributed these increases, generally, to the increase in the cost of importing components and raw materials used in the production of many agro-industrial products.
In the particular case of the increase of groceries and eggs, the president of Conacerd, understands that the resurgence of the pandemic and the arrival of the omicron variant have generated difficulty in obtaining drivers for transportation, generating a greater demand with a lower capacity to supply the points of sale.
“In addition, this is causing slow deliveries because producers have also reduced the number of employees in their work”, says Antonio Cruz.
Regarding oil and beans, he said that the increase is due to the variation of the dollar prices as in commodities. “In the country there is no way to control these costs, because at this time the suppliers of these products in the country have found that they are more expensive abroad than here, so they have to make price adjustments as a measure to protect their inventories,” he explains.
In this sense, he forecasts increases in the prices of beef and pork, fish, seafood, cereals and mayonnaise.
He warns that chicken prices will continue to increase due to the difficulties generated by the pandemic in transportation and labor.
Likewise, he stated that the lack of raw material in international markets will impact cereal prices.
Likewise, he foresees increases in mayonnaise, due to the decrease in production and the limitations generated by covid-19.
Banana prices have increased in recent weeks.
On his side, Agustín Peñaló, president of the Merchants Business Front, considers that the increase in prices of basic necessities is a consequence of external problems such as the increase in freight rates.
“Right now we can neither blame the government nor trade. There is a pandemic situation that is affecting the world and this is going to bring with it that the prices of articles will continue to increase, not only of basic necessities, but all of them”, he pointed out.
Egg prices are between RD$8.0 and RD$10.00 per unit.
The former president of the Federación Dominicana de Detallistas de Provisiones (Dominican Federation of Retailers of Provisions) also sees a bleak future. “We are still not seeing the effect of the global situation, we will see it later,” he predicted.
He pointed out that as a result of the pandemic, agricultural inputs rose up to 300%. “I do not know how far we can catalog this situation, hopefully the government can continue subsidizing inputs so that agricultural products do not continue to rise,” he said.
In this regard, the president of the Federation of Traders of Mercado Nuevo, Miguel Minaya, recalled that in the production of eggs and chickens imported raw material is used, since the country does not produce corn or soybeans, which translates into increases in these products of the basic food basket. In the particular case of bananas, he stated the following: “The banana was seen here at 30 pesos and we had it the whole year at 9, 10, 12 and 13 pesos. The banana is a harvest and when the harvest is ending, demand is higher than production and prices tend to go up”.