With the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan set to start on June 28, rising food prices — due to unusual weather conditions and a poor agricultural season — along with fears of lower quality in foods are major concerns.

Muslims spend Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, fasting from dawn until sunset; this restricted eating, however, does not mean a reduction in grocery shopping. People in Turkey attach more significance to their meals during Ramadan.

Some food companies have resorted to opportunism in the past in Turkey, trying to cash in on increased demand by either setting relatively higher prices or selling expired products, among other things. Ahead of this year’s Ramadan, beginning on June 28, fears concerning possible price gouging is pushing the government to increase monitoring of markets and dealers. Consumer unions, meanwhile, are issuing warnings that people be wary of opportunism by some dealers.

Food prices experience artificial increases due to price speculation a few weeks before the holy month of Ramadan every year, Mustafa Karlı, chairman of the İstanbul Food Wholesalers Association (İGTOD), said on June 17, warning consumers not to be deceived by these high prices.

This year fruits and vegetables have extraordinarily high price tags due to a lack of precipitation in the rainy season and a consequent drought across Turkey. Dry food and legumes are no different. Speaking to the Cihan news agency, Karlı said some products have seen sharp increases in prices due to the abnormal weather conditions.

Turkish Tradesmen’s and Artisans’ Confederation (TESK) Chairman Bendevi Palandöken also said in a written statement last week that increased spending by consumers during Ramadan means that an additional TL 3 to 4 billion will enter the market.

“Consumers should follow prices as there is no price increase among our sellers. They shouldn’t shop from those sellers who hike prices. They should pay attention to the prices of Ramadan food packages sold by the markets and the quality of the foods being sold. The expiration date of goods is paramount,” Palandöken said.

Palandöken added that they are expecting Health Ministry officials and municipal policemen to increase their inspections of retailers.

Mustafa Göktaş, chairman of the Association for the Protection of the Environment and Consumer (ÇETKODER), said last week that they will be publicizing those who deceive the consumer with a red notice.

Minimum nutrition cost TL 1,060 in Ramadan

Bağımsız Eğitim-Sen, a Turkish education personnel union, recently reported that a family of four will spend at least TL 1,060 on food purchases during Ramadan — TL 214 more than the minimum wage in Turkey, which is currently TL 846.

The report, which was prepared by the research and development unit of Bağımsız Eğitim-Sen, stated that the cost of red meat or by-products (one kilo), one chicken, one package of eggs, one kilo of cheese and olives, two-and-a half kilos of yoghurt, fruits and vegetables and bread was calculated to determine the average amount a family will spend on one meal.

According to the report, it was pointed out that Ramadan pide will be sold at TL 1.5 in Ankara. A family that consumes three pide a day will spend TL 135 during Ramadan just on pide alone, which amounts to one-sixth of the minimum wage.



Source Zaman

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