Dar es Salaam. Date prices went up by at least 30 per cent in various areas in Dar es Salaam, a survey by the The Citizen has revealed.
A survey at Kariakoo, Mtoro, Ilala and Buguruni markets has established that a kilo of dates was sold for between Sh7,000 and Sh8,000 on Friday, May 10, four days after Muslims started fasting, higher than Sh5,000 and Sh6,000 a kilo on May 2, just before the holy month of Ramadhan started.
Most of the dates consumed in Tanzania are imported from the Middle East and demand usually spikes during Ramadhan.
At Kariakoo market, wholesale prices for a box of 10 kilos ranged between Sh60,000 and Sh70,000 depending on the quality, up from Sh55,000 recorded on May 2.
Wholesalers attributed the price increase to decreased supply, especially from import sources.
“We are forced to sell at high prices because we also buy at high prices due to diminished supply,” said Mr Juma Mbwana, a dates trader outside Mtoro Mosque in Kariakoo.
According to him the wholesale price for a single box last year during Ramadhan was Sh50,000 or less depending on the quality.
But some buyers accused traders of profiteering during Ramadhan.
Ms Rehema Bakari, a resident of Tabata Kinyerezi, told The Citi that traders increase prices during Ramadhan under the pretext of increased demand. “I used to buy half a kilo at Sh2,500 or Sh3,000, but this now fetches you about a quarter of a kilo. They increase prices because they know people have no choice but to buy from them,” she said.