Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Soaring food prices and shortages in Libya

The violent protests in Libya are now causing shortages of food and basic goods. People are waiting in long lines for bread in the capital of Tripoli. When food is available, it can be bought at the highest prices ever seen in the country. Prices for basic food stuffs have risen by a fifth since the fighting began.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Maria Golovnina tells us how the political upheaval has turned into a food upheaval.

The turmoil, which started in the east about 10 days ago and has now spread to other parts of Libya, has disrupted supplies in the desert, oil-producing nation which depends on imports to cover domestic food demand.

In Tripoli's working class Fashloom neighbourhood, locals said flour, vegetables and fuel prices had risen by at least 20 percent in their neighbourhood in the last 10 days.

People formed long lines outside bakeries, limited to selling between five and 20 loaves of bread per customer, depending on the area. One man in Fashloom said an average extended household in Tripoli consumed about 40 loaves a day.

"There isn't enough food," said Basim, 25, a bank employee, adding that many workers in the public sector had yet to receive salaries for February. "It's the end of the month, my money is running out. I don't know what I will do."

Crowds of people also massed outside state banks, which have started distributing handouts of about $400 per family in an effort by Gaddafi's government to drum up support.

Inside one bank, there were frantic scenes as chain-smoking employees worked through people's papers and counted out wads of cash. One man in the crowd shouted angrily and rattled metal gates outside the bank teller's window.

"It's a difficult situation. Food in many countries in getting more expensive. In Libya, rising prices suddenly changed the situation," said Khaled Amir, 30, a bank manager. "People are nervous."


Maria@yourbrainmedia said...

This is such sad news. I am worried about my nurse friend who is there.

Heather Hadden said...

The price of food is rising in general. I guess countries with a large percentage of population living in poverty are going to feel the effects of commodity-price inflation the most as it is the poor that have to use the greatest percentage of their disposable income to buy this most basic of all requirements for life.