DOHA: There are over 257,000 more people in the country this Ramadan than last year’s and that explains soaring demand for foodstuff and other items.
The country’s population was 1.91 million (1,916,426) a little before Ramadan last year, while on May 31 this year, it was more than 2.1 million (2,174,035).
This means that there are some 257, 600 more people in the country now as compared to the time (July 8) when Ramadan began last year.
The next population figure is likely to be announced by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics on July 1.
According to a cross-section of consumers, prices have been rising fuelled mainly by demand.
The prices of some vegetables soared nearly twice and three times at the Central Market yesterday with both, wholesalers and retailers, attributing it to shortages caused by rising demand.
People complained that meat had literally disappeared from shelves at the various outlets on the eve of Ramadan last evening.
“I have been looking for mutton but in vain,” an Asian householder shopping at a major outlet said. Sales officials said meat stocks had run out as demand was high.
People buying fresh vegetables at the central market were literally in a shock as the prices of some vegetables like tomato, khoosa, cucumber, cauliflower, lettuce and egg plant, had doubled in barely a few days.
These are the vegetables that are much in demand during the fasting month. Tomatoes, for instance, are used mainly by families in curry preparation. A seven-kg box of tomato was selling for QR28, up from QR10 a few days ago.
A five-kg box of khoosa that was priced at just about QR13 or QR14 a few days ago, was selling for an unbelievable QR50. A box of lettuce was likewise selling for between QR35 and QR40, up from QR10 to QR12 barely a week ago.
A box of green chilly was being sold for QR33 to QR35 (the earlier price being QR15 to QR17). While buyers blamed the outlets for price hikes on the eve of Ramadan, several retailers and wholesalers said rising demand had caused shortages.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are not included in price control items by the government during Ramadan. But inspectors from the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce do monitor sale and pricing at the central market.