Food prices soar in Tunisia as they fall globally

The overall food cost index of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stood at 140.9 points at the end of last July, thus registering a drop of 8.6% compared to to June.

The food price index thus marked a fifth consecutive monthly decline after reaching peaks earlier in the year, according to a note published recently by the UN organization.

However, the drop in the index measuring the price change of a basket of basic food products is still 13.1% higher than in July 2021.

According to FAO chief economist Maximo Torero, the drop in food prices is positive, especially after the observed increase in food prices, which mainly affected the poorest households in all countries.

One of the commodities that drove the index down is vegetable oil, the price of which fell 19.2% between June and July 2022 to its lowest level in ten months.

Grain prices, meanwhile, fell 11.5% over the past month, although they remained 16.6% above their July 2021 value.

The reduction of up to 14.5% in world wheat prices following the agreement reached between Ukraine and Russia to unblock exports from the main Black Sea ports has led to a drop in all cereals included in the index. Increased grain availability in Argentina and Brazil also contributed to this decline.

The National Institute of Statistics (INS) has also just published its monthly “Consumer Price Index” note for July 2022. According to INS data, inflation confirms its upward trend in increasing again to reach the rate of 8.2% after 8.1% in June, 7.8% in May and 7.5% in April. Inflation has reached its highest level for 31 years.

This increase is mainly explained by the acceleration in the pace of food price increases (11% against 9.5% in June). The underlying inflation rate (excluding food products and energy) fell back to 6.8% after 7.2% the previous month.

Free food products increased by 13.1% against 0.3% for food products at regulated prices. In July 2022, food prices increase by 11% over one year. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the prices of eggs by 24.2%, edible oils by 22.3%, fresh fruits by 18.6%, fresh vegetables by 19.9% ​​and sheep meat by 11. 9%.

Food price inflation is a structural phenomenon in Tunisia which is due to the combination of several factors including shortages, weak control of supply circuits, poor management of subsidized products and the continued spread of smuggling plagues. and speculation.

The new regulations decreed to fight against speculation have not been able to eradicate these scourges given their interference with other regulations enshrining monopoly practices, unfair competition, illicit price fixing and the hegemony of certain food cartels that have become real market makers.

The “Alert International – Tunisia” association has repeatedly indicated that the Tunisian economy is a genuine rentier economy enshrining multiple political and legal obstacles to prevent citizens from participating in the creation of wealth. Alert ensures that the State does not have the capacity to finance the economy while affirming that the food security crisis is caused by well determined clans.

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