JUBA – A survey by The New Nation last week in the main markets in Juba town shows that most of the food prices have doubled, with some increasing four times in the first year of South Sudan independence.
The price of a 50kg bag of beans, which used to be SSP150 a year ago, has risen four times - to SSP600.
The cost of Irish potatoes has also risen almost four times, from SSP130 for a 100kg bag to SSP400.
The price of a 25kg bag of posho has now tripled to SSP150 from SSP50.
While the prices of matooke and sugar have doubled to SSP100, up from SSP50, and SSP300 from SSP150 for a 50kg bag respectively.
A kilogram of posho, which was SSP4, is now at SSP8
At SSP300 for a 50kg bag, rice is now beyond the reach of most families in South Sudan. It was SSP130 a year ago.
The retail prices are even worse with the price of esh (bread), which is common food in most South Sudanese families, costing SSP1 for only two pieces. This was the price for four pieces before.
To celebrate independence declaration last year, one needed only SSP10 to buy a kilogramme of meat, but it is now SSP30.
Three pieces of carrots now cost SSP5, up from SSP2, while onions that used to cost SSP1 are now at SSP5.
A kilogram of millet flour is now sold at SSP10, up from SSP5.
A tray of eggs which was SSP13 last year is now SSP22. Three eggs were sold at SSP2 but now one egg goes for SSP1.
Things are no better for fish lovers, with dried Nile perch, which was at SSP18, now selling at SSP40. If one is lucky, they can get it at SSP35.
Tilapia, which was sold at SSP2, is now at SSP10 for a small size and SSP20-40 for a big size.
To celebrate independence declaration last year, one could buy a small size of mudfish at SSP10 but now, it goes for SSP15.
The medium size, which cost SSP15, is now SSP25. While the biggest size of mudfish, which was SSP90 last year, is now SSP120.
Ovacado, which was sold at SSP1, goes for SSP3 now, while pawpaws are at SSP10-15, up from SSP5.
Four big tomatoes cost SSP2 then, but are now at SSP5.
A heap of sweet potatoes goes for SSP 5 to SSP10. Last year the price ranged between SSP3 and SSP5.
Most families have now resorted to eating greens and beans with maize meal as meat. Bread and rice are beyond their means.
South Sudan heavily relies on imported food stuffs from East Africa and until recently from Sudan. However when tensions escalated between Juba and Khartoum leading to the shutdown of oil production over transit dues disagreement, authorities in Khartoum stopped importation of food. This led to serious shortages.
The shutdown of oil production also deprived the country the much needed dollars to import food, leading to the South Sudanese pound and skyrocketing of prices.
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Friday, 7 September 2012