Prices of fresh fruit and vegetables have noticeably gone up in recent days due to the increase in price at source and limited movement of fresh produce, Gulf News has learnt.
A kilo of red onions from India is now sold at Dh7 (USD1.91) as compared to Dh5.95 (USD1.62) per kilo last week. Bananas imported from the Philippines are now sold at Dh6.50 (USD1.77) per kilo while they were only Dh5 (USD1.36) last week. A kilo of potatoes from Egypt has also gone up from Dh2.50-2.95 (USD0.68-0.80).
Long beans, bitter gourd, okra, eggplant, broccoli, carrots, and other staple vegetables have all gone up between Dh1-2 (USD0.37-0.54) per kilo. Mandarin orange, clementine, guava and fruits rich in vitamin C have also gone up.
A store manager at a convenience store in Al Barsha told Gulf News prices of fruit and vegetables have increased due to high prices and limited transportation of fresh produce from source.
“For instance, we have seen delays in the delivery of vegetables from India because of the lockdown in some states due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This has caused prices to definitely go up. If prices from source go up, we have no choice but to also hike the retail price,” the store manager explained.
Strain in consumer spending
Residents have felt the pinch and complained of a strain in their spending.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dubai resident and Filipino expat John Joseph, 23, said he has already exceeded his allocated budget for food this week.
“I always buy from the small grocery next to our building because it’s more convenient and I don’t have to stock up. But prices have already gone up and it’s only Wednesday, but I have already spent my entire food allowance for the week,” said Joseph.
Another Dubai resident, John Raymart, 25, said his expenses for food have also gone up. “The solution that me and my friends have come up with is to pool our money and buy food for everyone. No more individual cooking to cut on our expenses,” he added.
Same situation in Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, fellow shopper Ajeeb Paravoor, said, “Yesterday (Monday) I bought onions and tomatoes and was surprised to know that the prices had doubled.
“Yesterday I purchased 1-kg of onions and 250 grams of tomatoes and I paid Dh10 (USD2.72) in total, which is too much,” he said.
“Even I wanted to order fish online but the prices they quoted me was double compared to the regular price at the market so I declined to buy,” Paravoor said.
“I questioned the grocery manager about the price rise and he admitted the wholesale prices have increased,” Paravoor said.
Another resident of the capital, Sanjay Kumar said that the prices of different commodities have increased from Dh1 to Dh5 (USD0.37-1.36).
“Now the onion groceries sell at Dh10 (USD2.72) which used to be Dh4.2 (USD2.72) per kilo,” he said.
Grocery operators in the capital acknowledged the hike in mostly vegetables and said they receive the products at higher rates from suppliers.
A grocery trader in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News, “Now we are selling onions at Dh10 (USD2.72) a kg because of wholesale price rise as we get from suppliers and potato at Dh4.5 (USD1.43) a kg.”
He said the vegetable prices regularly keep changing depending on the market.
Another grocery operator in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News, “Onions and tomatoes have registered a price hike lately due to the price rise in wholesale markets and supply shortage.”
“We sell onions at Dh8 (USD2.18) per kilo and tomatoes at Dh6 (USD1.63) a kilo, which used to be Dh4 to Dh5 (USD1.09-1.36) for a kg, while potato is being traded at Dh4.5 (USD1.43) a kg which is almost the same as before,” he said.
In high demand are fruits nowadays, which are considered the best antioxidants to fight diseases and prevent microbes from human body, have also witnessed a jump in their prices in Abu Dhabi lately.
Particularly the Egyptian oranges which are always in high demand in the market have registered a heavy hike in prices.
Now, Abu Dhabi’s Fruits and Vegetable Market in Mina Zayed, consumers said that fruits sellers are selling the Egyptian navel oranges at Dh50 (USD13.61) for a bag of 7kg or 7.5kg, which used to be traded at the market at Dh30 (USD8.17).
The Fruit Market of Mina is considered to be a haven for bargain lovers but currently haggling down options have become a thing of the past.
Gulf News approached both the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Dubai Economy, formerly known as Dubai Economic Department, for a comment but have yet to receive a response.