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Rice, Fish…Importation Exigencies Pushes Price Hike

Consumers are experiencing an increase in the prices of these commodities in markets across the country thereby bearing the cat of the extra cost incurred by importers.

Consumers of basic food stuff in Cameroon are yet to come to terms with the increase of these commodities especially frozen fish and rice, which is a staple meal in most households. The persistent price hike decried by consumers’ rights associations led to the concertation meeting between importers on the one hand and officials of the Ministry of Trade as well as consumers’ associations on the other hand, last March 20 in Yaounde. The homologated prices adopted after the consultations has hardly been respected in the markets as consumers are still confronted with the price surge.  Pundits and even officials of the Ministry of Trade acknowledged after the meeting that implementation of the homologated prices might be difficult in the field given other considerations such as transportation cost. Other factors related to importation exigencies also explain the hike. During the March 20 concertation meeting between actors in the sectors and the government, importers highlighted difficulties linked to price hikes which includes amongst others foreign exchange discrepancies, delay in clearing goods from the seaport and increase of customs declaration charges from 1.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent. All of these incidentally affects the cost of importation and consequently the price. Rice being a major staple widely consumed in all parts of the country, is in high demand especially with the current security and humanitarian situation in some parts of the country. In 2017, rice importation increased by 18.6 per cent in volume and 27.9 per cent in value according to the National Institute of Statistics. With the humanitarian situation caused by the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North and the spill over effects of the Central African Republic civil strife, Cameroon has of recent been witnessing increasing humanitarian crisis. Just recently, the Minister of Territorial Administration revealed that the crisis in the two English-speaking Regions have produced 152,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). This in a nutshell, translate that the demand of food stuff especially rice to feed the IDPs and refugees from Nigeria and Central African Republic. This is coupled with the very weak local production of rice and fish which cannot meet up local demand. 

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