The Ministry of Business of Trade said yesterday that prices of fruits and vegetables have gone down 10 percent since May last year.
The downward trend, the Ministry said was a result of the monitoring of wholesale and retail prices of fruits and vegetables it began in May last year.
According to the Ministry, the decline in the prices was despite the fact that imports were hampered due to problems in some exporting countries.
“We had to look for imports from other countries, as a result. Nevertheless, overall imports are impacted,” said the Ministry.
Ministry figures show that the prices of fruits were down 13 percent on average between July and December last year over the corresponding period in 2010.
Similarly, the rates of fresh vegetables declined 16 percent on average between July and December 2011 over the corresponding period the previous year.
However, since the dawn of the current year the prices have not declined so much as the average fall in vegetables rates between January and April 2012 has been only a little over eight percent.
The maximum decline was in January at 12 percent, while the minimum was in February at a meager two percent.
As for fresh fruits, the reduction in their prices has only been four percent on average in the first four months of this year, the maximum being in January at 10 percent while the minimum was in February at four percent.
The highest declines both fruit and vegetable prices witnessed were in September of 2011 when the decrease was 25 percent for vegetables and 23 percent for fruits.
The Ministry released these figures in a communication addressed to local Arabic daily which reported on Sunday that the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the Ministry was not conducting strict monitoring of prices at the Central Market.
The Ministry refuting the charges said CPD inspectors are on a constant vigil at the Central Market and auctions do take place under their supervision.
The auctions are supervised by CPD inspectors on Fridays and Saturdays and the rates thus decided apply to the rest of the week, the Ministry said. It is also compulsory for the outlets to display the price lists.
According to the Ministry, there has been some increase in the rates of fresh fruits and vegetables because the harvest season in producing countries is coming to an end.
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