Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)
Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Food outlets on the move

Refrigerated vehicles will soon be roaming the streets to sell food commodities at lower prices, reports Ahmed Kotb

Refrigerated vehicles
Refrigerated vehicles
Al-Ahram Weekly

As part of government efforts to combat rising food prices, the first phase of a project to distribute refrigerated food trucks to young people began last Sunday, with officials receiving the papers from applicants who want to join the scheme.

Some 350 vehicles are ready for the project’s first phase. Each will contain five tons of commodities, including frozen poultry, meat, fish and vegetables, to be distributed across 22 governorates, and they will offer these products to the public at what were described as “decent prices.”

The mobile commodity outlets are a joint venture between the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Social Fund for Development (SFD) and Long Live Egypt Fund. The project is part of government plans to make food more affordable amid uncontrollable price rises in the local market.

For two weeks starting on 3 January, applications will be received by the SFD and vehicles given to those who are eligible. According to the first phase of the project, there will be one vehicle for three young people, with the share of frozen goods every 48 hours specified as ten tons of poultry, two tons of meat, two tons of fish and two tons of vegetables.

Eligible applicants must be aged between 25 and 45, must form a joint company, must have a clean criminal record, and must not hold either a public sector or private sector job, according to Khaled Hanafi, the minister of social solidarity.

Eligible applicants can receive a loan from the SFD at an interest rate of five per cent over six years, with 70 per cent of the investment cost covered by the loan, leaving about LE73,000 to be paid at once by the three people operating the vehicle.

Experts believe that the prices of food will go down in conventional stores once the refrigerated vehicles start operation. According to Ahmed Yehia, head of the Food Commodities Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, prices started to decrease at the beginning of 2016 because of competition in the market as a result of food products being sold at lower prices in state-owned consumer complexes.

“Prices have gone down by about 10 per cent,” Yehia said. He added that a growing number of people were choosing to buy from the thousands of consumer complexes rather than conventional stores because of the lower price tags.

“These complexes are found across all the governorates and definitely help bring down prices,” he said.

Yehia added that the complexes cannot cover all consumer needs, but they have created greater competition in the market and led to drops in prices. “I expect more decreases in the prices of food over the next few months,” he said.

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