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at the Casablanca market, soaring prices disrupt preparations for Ramadan

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The meat hall of the Casablanca market, in December 2009.

Cascades of dried fruits, heaps of oranges, spices mounted in a dome in their wicker baskets, fish stalls… At the Bab Marrakech market, in the medina of Casablanca, you can find everything and in abundance. What to prepare hearty ftours – fast-breaking meals taken at nightfall during Ramadan, often shared around large family and festive tables.

However, with the approach of the holy month, which should begin around Sunday April 3 in Morocco, Asmaa Zaghloul, 38, does not have the heart to drag on the market. She doesn’t have the budget.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Morocco, the government under pressure in the face of soaring prices

Every year, food expenses soar during Ramadan and prices are driven up. “But this year, it’s the pinnacle, laments this mother of three children. The price of a five-litre can of oil has almost doubled. The kilo of tomatoes exceeds 10 dirhams (0.93 euros), against 2 to 3 dirhams usually. »

With an unchanged budget of 200 euros per month for shopping, Asmaa is trying to adapt the contents of its casserole dish: “I put fewer fresh vegetables in my tagines; I don’t cook meat every day. During Ramadan, I will avoid doing harira [soupe traditionnelle du mois sacré], tomatoes are too expensive. » It will also be necessary to ration briouates, sellou, chebakia and other specialties of the period.

Rising inflation since 2021

While Morocco has known relative price stability for the past twenty years, it has been facing rising inflation since 2021, against a backdrop of soaring international commodity prices. According to the High Commission for Planning, the consumer price index rose by 3.6% in February compared to the same month of 2021, and even 5.5% for food products.

This trend should accelerate in the coming months in the wake of the war led by Russia in Ukraine, while these two countries are among the main world exporters of agricultural products, such as wheat, vegetable oil and corn. The shock will be all the stronger as the Moroccan economy is “highly dependent on energy and grain imports”emphasizes Mehdi Lahlou, professor of economics at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (Insea) in Rabat.

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