Traders cautioned on speculative food pricing

The Ministry of Trade and Industry intends to introduce anti-hoarding measures in an effort to control prices of foodstuffs, the Minister of Trade and Industry has said. Monique Nsanzabaganwa said some traders might be holding up on their items, a scenario that creates scarcity on the market and consequently pushes up commodity prices. 
Market vendors in Kimironko market, Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa plots measures to control hoarding. (File photo)
Market vendors in Kimironko market, Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa plots measures to control hoarding. (File photo)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry intends to introduce anti-hoarding measures in an effort to control prices of foodstuffs, the Minister of Trade and Industry has said.

Monique Nsanzabaganwa said some traders might be holding up on their items, a scenario that creates scarcity on the market and consequently pushes up commodity prices. 

 “The increase in food prices can be attributed to two factors; first, traders might be holding onto their items to overprice their products (during scarcity); but we are yet to confirm it,” she said, Wednesday, during a tour of Kigali’s four major food markets of Kimironko, Nyabugogo, Kicukiro and Kimisagara.  

The second reason, she said, might be traders charging high margins instead of working hard to increase sales.

The Minister’s visit to the markets follows a recent mini survey that was carried out by Business Times, which established that food and commodity prices had generally increased, some shooting up by 100 percent.

The Minister explained that the market tour was to keep in touch with the traders, specifically to raise awareness about food prices, fair competition and compliance.

“There is a general perception that staple food prices are high and increasing yet upcountry regions have excess and plenty of foodstuffs,” she added.

The Minister raised concerns about the mismatch between what is happening at the firm-gate and at the final customer level.

“You find people involved in buying and correcting food items from the farmers in a much disorganised manner. Through the post-harvest management programme, we have managed to ensure that there are known collection centres to guide farmers on the production cost and help them set a minimum price.”

She also urged traders to register their businesses and have known selling points, which will lead to proper tracking, hence controlling market prices.

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