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Easter, as one of the biggest Christian holidays, is usually celebrated in a lavish way. After fasting consecutively for around two months, people prepare to proceed to the market and spend quite a bit to celebrate this holiday. Although prices for food items do usually go up around the holidays, in the past few years buyers have witnessed the skyrocketing of prices on a regular basis; therefore, many people had little expectations that prices for items will not go overboard again this year when going to the market.
The asking price of an Ox has shown the greatest rise at 25,000 birr. In the year 2010 the price stood between 4,200 and 6,000 birr, while in 2011 it was available for 5,000 birr to 7,000 birr and then in 2012 the price went up yet again to 10,000 birr.
No holiday is complete without butter, and this highly sought-out food item surprisingly hasn’t shown a lot of change in the price it commands, available at 140 to 160 birr per kilo. It was sold for 100 to 150 birr per kilo in 2011 and 200 birr in 2012. Some buyers stated that they were pleasantly surprised to see the price has stabilized and around the holidays to boot. In 2011, sheep was commanding a price of 750 birr up to 1,800 birr, depending on many factors, and then in 2012 the price went up to 800 to 2,000 birr. This year, it looks like the price has gone down a bit; from 700 birr to 1,800 birr.
Capital learned that currently onion was being sold for a price between 7 to 9 birr per kilo in Merkato, the largest open market in Africa, which hasn’t show a lot of change from last year, when it was sold at 8.50 to 9.50 birr per kilo. It was very unusual indeed that the price of onion hadn’t shown much increase in the fasting season when a lot of vegetables are consumed by the populace. Garlic has shown a minor price decrease recently, being sold at 22 birr per kilo. The price was around 25 birr per kilo last year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, cheese, which is not used much in the fasting season, did show a surprising sign of price increase. Now it is sold at 50 birr per kilogram at groceries, up from 40 birr. In small markets around the city, the price is well over 35 birr per kilo, but the quality of cheese available at such places is much lower than the one sold in large up market groceries. The price of high quality or white Teff has definitely shown increment at prices of 1,800 birr for 100Kgin Merkato. Last year the price of Teff had risen to 1,250 birr from 1,000 birr per quintal. This increase occurred across the board, in complete disregard to quality, at the time.
Another constant in prices was observed in cooking oil, being sold at 50 to 65 birr per litre at Shola market. Last year the price was around the same, but at the time it was considered to have gotten more expensive than it was in 2011. The reason oil was expensive last year was partly because of the shortage of imported oil in the market for some time.
The food item that is considered as the most expensive is chicken. Although the price for chicken has been rising for the last couple of years, this year’s price is the most expensive so far, the asking price rising between 180 to 200 birr.
During the 2010 Easter Holiday, the average chicken price was between 50 and 70 birr in markets across the city. In 2011, for the same Easter Holiday, the price rose to 90 birr.
“Chicken keeps getting more expensive; it is very disappointing to see this,” stated a consumer, who requested for anonymity, around Shola market.
The price of egg has also risen considerably, at prices of 2.50 birr for a single egg. In 2010, the price of egg was 1.15 birr per egg, while it was 1.50 birr in 2011. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to 2.20 birr.
Even though prices for the above items seem to be getting more expensive each passing year, some shoppers are still willing to part with their money for the holidays. “It is the Easter holiday. We know that the asking prices are ridiculously expensive each year, but we still keep on buying these things, because we want to celebrate the holiday in a proper manner,” said an old gentleman, who was walking and looking around the Shola market to get the best deals he could find. In general though, it seems that the holiday market has more or less stabilized this year when compared to previous years.
Many people who are preparing for the celebration of Easter seem to have been disappointed that market prices haven’t gone down for food items sold all over Addis Ababa. Some stated that they would wait until the eve of the holiday to purchase some items in hopes that prices will go down considerably.