Prices of fruits and vegetables have gone up by about 200 percent in the retail shops and supermarkets before the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, local daily Al-Madina reported on Tuesday quoting market sources.
A number of traders and suppliers confirmed the hike in prices and asked the consumers to buy their needs and requirements from the central fruit and vegetable market in Jeddah (the Halaqa).
Mohammed Al-Johani, deputy chairman of the foodstuff committee of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), confirmed that the prices of fruits and vegetables in retail shops and supermarkets were more by about 200 percent over their real prices in the Halaqa due to their rising operational costs.
He said the price of a kilogram of cucumber in the retail shops is SR1.5 while the entire carton which weighs about 20 kg is sold between SR5 and SR8 in the Halaqa.
He also said a kilogram of cantaloupe is sold in the supermarkets at SR1 while the entire carton weighing 10 kg in the Halaqa is sold at SR4 only.
Johani said most of the vegetables are sold at double their prices in retail shops while in the Halaqa the prices are quite reasonable.
He recalled that the agricultural products come directly from the farms to the auction in the Halaqa where their prices are fixed before being distributed to supermarkets and retail shops which sell them at extremely high prices.
Deputy chairman of the syndicate of auctioneers, Mutassim Abu Zinadah, warned the supermarkets from the crazy prices of fruits and vegetables before Ramadan and said they increase the prices by more than 100 percent to make extra dough.
He asked the consumers to buy their fruits and vegetables directly from the Halaqa which provides high-quality products at affordable prices.
Abu Zinadah said prices in the Halaqa will remain stable regardless of the hectic purchases due to the increasing number of Umrah pilgrims.
Seifullah Sharbatly, one of the main importers of fruits, advised the consumers to buy directly from importers in the Halaqa and said this is the best means of obtaining fair prices.
He believes that the supermarkets are exaggerating their prices to compensate for the huge operational costs but said the prices in the Halaqa are very competitive.
Sharbatly said there will be a slight increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables at the beginning of Ramadan due to the increasing demand and asked the consumers not to buy large quantities of fruits and vegetables until the market is stable.
According to him, prices of the fruits and vegetables in the Kingdom remain the cheapest.