Looking for the root causes of the potato crisis

Source: Madamasr

Author(s): Hadeer El-Mahdawy and Nada Arafat

Original Link: https://madamasr.com/en/2018/11/22/feature/economy/looking-for-the-root-causes-of-the-potato-crisis/

Approach a vegetable vendor in Cairo in recent months looking for potatoes, and you’ll likely be in for a surprise. For one kilogram of potatoes, a staple food item for many Egyptians, you might pay as much as LE14, more than twice the usual price.

The price of potatoes across Egypt skyrocketed in September, and they are still high two months afterward. A market in Cairo’s Bab al-Louq neighborhood closed last week with a price tag of LE17, while the going rate for a kilogram of potatoes in markets in lower income areas across Cairo is LE10. What started as an immediate strain on the budgets of citizens across Egypt has since evolved into a political episode featuring all the usual characters: state bodies rushing to intervene on behalf of the “suffering citizen,” pontificating state officials quick to promise a crisis averted, the vilified hoarding traders serving as scapegoats, a president defending austerity measures as necessary sacrifice.


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