Price rise hits Ramadan observance in Kerala

August 22nd, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, Aug 22 (IANS) The high prices of fruits, especialy dry fruits, and other popular Iftar items in Kerala have left this year’s Ramadan an expensive affair, say traders and devotees.
The Muslims in Kerala, the second largest community in the state after Hindus, started their month-long Ramadan fast Saturday morning.

Traders in Kozhikode Veliyanagadi, a major market in northern Kerala, said popular Iftar items like dates have come from the Middle Eastern countries, but this year the prices are very high.

Iftar is the first meal after the daylong fast observed during Ramadan. Date is the traditional fruit for Iftar, while lemon juice is the traditional drink.

“Ordinary dates, which were priced in the range of Rs.54 to Rs.254 a kilogram till recently, are now costlier by Rs.40. And dry dates, which were priced between Rs.850 to Rs.1,200, are dearer by 20 percent now,” said a leading wholesale trader of dates here.

“This time products came from new markets like Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt,” he added.

Prices of lemon went up to Rs.70 a kilogram from Rs.40 to Rs.50 till recently.

Sugar prices have also gone up to Rs.32 per kilogram from Rs.25, traders said.

Devotees said the state government’s Ramadan fairs would be more crowded this year because of the high prices of the products in the market.

“The prices of fruits and fruit juices have also shot up. One kilogram of apple today costs in the range of Rs.85 to Rs.100. The Ramadan fairs of the state government are going to be crowded,” said Abubacker, a devout Muslim living here.

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