Food prices shake off post-election tension  

World food prices reach new peak since July 2011

 … Esoko report shows stability in two major markets 

Data from agricultural research firm Esoko have indicated food prices remain fairly stable and show no effects from post-election disagreements the nation is witnessing after the December 7 elections.

Food prices from two major markets, Techiman and Tamale, have not seen any significant changes after the general elections; even though these towns have witnessed some post-election disturbances first-hand.

An analysis of average prices for 11 commodities showed that – except cereals which witnessed a normal price change – all other foodstuffs remained stable. The commodities analysed were Cassava (fresh tuber), Cassava (gari), Cowpea (white), Groundnut (shelled), Maize (white grain), Millet (grain), Rice (local), Soya bean, Tomato (cooking), Wheat grain, Yam (poona medium).

Data from the Tamale Market between December 9 – 17 (a day to end of market last week) showed that cassava started trading at GH¢170 per bag on the 9th and closed at the same price on the 17th; gari, over the same period opened and closed at GH¢150 per bag; cowpea opened and closed at GH¢540 per bag; groundnut opened and closed at GH¢470 per bag; while only maize opened at GH¢120 per bag and ended costing more at GH¢140 per bag.

Millet continued the trend by opening and closing at GH¢140 per bag; rice opened and closed at GH¢400 per bag; soya bean opened at GH¢300 per bag and ended at GH¢350 per bag; tomato opened and closed at GH¢400 per crate; wheat grain opened and closed at GH¢260 per bag; yam opened at GH¢800 per 100 tubers and also ended same.

Data from the Techiman Market between December 9 – 17 (a day to the end of market last week) showed that despite posting different prices when compared to the Tamale Market, most commodities opened and closed at the same value.

Speaking to the B&FT, Content Manager at Esoko, Francis Danso, said that there is no significant change in food prices after the general elections, as the trend being recorded is normal. According to him, the demand for cereals to feed poultry for the festive season is what pushes the commodity’s price up.

“Past data around this time show that what we are seeing is normal. Around this time, we do not have prices of the commodities changing due to electoral pressure – and that’s what we are seeing during the period after elections. The averages we are seeing tell us that, comparatively for the period, food prices have been very stable,” Mr. Danso said.

He was however quick to add that there may be some astronomical increases in food prices going into the festive season, as demand for the commodities will go up and traders and players on the market would want to cash in. He also indicated that if there is any increase in fuel prices, which might have a cascading effect on transportation, there is a possibility of having food prices go up.

“In the weeks that we are going to enter, there might be an increase in food prices on the market. This cannot be attributed to election disagreements; you can attribute it to the festive season, which is a normal phenomenon of demand and supply forces, or transportation fares going up.

“We woke up this morning and fuel prices had gone up: there is a likelihood that trucks transporting foodstuffs will increase their fares; if that happens, then food prices for this week – which we are yet to go and gather data on – might go up,” Mr. Danso intimated.

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