• Tunis

  • Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 6:26 AM
    Last Update : Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 5:12 AM

Severe Crisis in Tunisia as Basic Food Commodities Unavailable in Markets

(AWP) - Tunisia is on a bed of nails as the crisis of basic commodities shortages continues, forcing shopping centers to set the amounts allotted for each citizen.

Sugar, milk, cooking oil, rice and coffee are among the items short on the markets, adding more pressure on Tunisians, who have been suffering from a domestic economic crisis for some time.

Lutfy Riahi, President of the Tunisian Consumer Information Organization (OTIC), believes that the crisis will remain unsolved as long as producers get state subsidies and then sell the items at free market prices.

“As long as subsidized products are offered to manufacturers to sell at free market prices, the crisis will linger. This applies to bread, cooking oil and other products. The biggest problem is the failure to supply these products to consumers, who cannot get what they need because manufacturers are taking the consumers’ share,” he said.

Tunisia has been affected by a recent disruption of the usual supply chains from Algeria, which itself suffers from an acute shortage in commodities.

Mohamed, a Tunisian man, admits that there is a crisis in the country, but believes it was partly caused by citizens going on a frenzy of buying the items that are vanishing from the markets.

“The crisis exists, but part of it is not real. Essentially, there is a shortage in some items. A major problem is that citizens keep purchasing any commodities that are reportedly short, like milk. Citizens do not have the necessary awareness. The crisis exists, but the citizens contribute to its continuation,” he explained.

Markets in Tunisia have faced a shortage in milk since November, causing discontent amongst consumers, who suffer daily inconvenience to get it. Lines outside shops have become a familiar scene.

Another Tunisian citizen, Youssef, blamed some citizens for the deterioration of the crisis due to a lack of awareness and the use of indirect means to get more than the set amount determined for each person.

“There is  panic buying, and some citizens use a variety of tricks to get more than what they need, like standing in lines for more than once. This deepens the problems Tunisians have in getting their needs met,” he noted.

Shelves are mostly empty of commodities inside stores, while Tunisians move from one store to another in search of needed food items.