Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Entering 2010 in an expensive style

As we get ready to say goodbye to the Ethiopian year of 2009 and possibly the heavy rainy season we have been experiencing, we are bringing you the usual over view of what the holiday market looks like. Walking around in Addis, all the commercial buildings have started to compete to catch the attention of holiday spenders.
Loud music blasting with colorful decorations draped across them, the shops located within the buildings began advertising their products that are supposedly on sale, over two weeks ago.
Open markets such as those located in Shola and Bole areas have also been entertaining quite a lot of shoppers getting ready for the celebrations of the New Year. The past week, it was also a more common scene to see herds of sheep and goats that are to be consumed as for the holiday along with men carrying a bulk of live chickens in neighborhoods selling them.
Looking at specific food items that are essential to preparing a holiday meal, nothing seems to be on the fair prices side. Onions are currently selling for 19 birr per kilo in the open markets and that becomes a bit more in the smaller fruit and vegetable kiosks around the city. In some shops in the open markets, there are vendors giving customers a small discount if they are buying in bulk.
Garlic, another item that has been out of reach for many for some time now continues to hold an expensive price tag as it is selling for a still unbelievable 60 birr per kilo. When it comes to this item, most shoppers go for half a kilo and many go for quarter of a kilo. Tomatoes also remain to be on the expensive side at 16 birr per kilo, although this price tag is nothing new and not specific to the holiday.
When it comes to the most important items such as sheep, chicken and butter, shoppers are expecting to pay the big bucks and they won’t be disappointed. A live chicken, which most still prefer, is selling for between 250 to 300 birr; the larger the bird, the more buyers are expected to pay. If this price is grand, there is always the option of good old packaged supermarket chicken. The price is slightly better than the live chicken, selling between 120 to 200 birr, depending on the kilo of the bird.
Coming to the larger animal section, there is no such a thing as an affordable sheep. Currently sheep is being sold from 3,500 to 4,500 birr. There is a theory that the prices will go down a day or two before the day of the holiday as all the vendors want to get rid of their stock and go home. Although that is true in some cases, most of them will stick to the price they set in the beginning.
All the meat that is to be eaten means nothing without some good quality butter, but again, it will not come cheap. Good quality butter or one that is referred to as Sheno is selling for between 190 and 200 birr per kilo. Table butter that is sold in supermarkets makes a really good alternative, in fact, many are converting to using that kind for their cooking. A kilo of the table butter can be bought for 150 birr and with the right amount of spices, the taste is equally good.
Like always, checking out websites that offer packaged goods are good options, especially as gifts to someone. There are a number of them on social media where they provide a package of cakes with a bottle of whiskey or whiskey with sheep and it’s all delivered to your doorstep. The service is pricey of course.
The New Year exhibition at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center is also something that has attracted quite a large number of visitors. As always, the exhibition promises a fun experience of shopping and dining, although relaxing is not something that shoppers will be doing as the area inside and outside the pavilions gets too crowded.
The best time to visit the exhibition is during weekdays when most have to be at work. With regards to prices, there doesn’t seem to be anything different than what shoppers can find out side in normal shops, except for locally made shoes, bags, and clothing where a small price difference is noticed.
All and all, although the holiday market seems to be a bit on the expensive side, people’s spirit to enjoy the coming New Year doesn’t seem to be affected. Addis Ababa continues to be vibrant and loud preparing to receive a brand new year.