GUINEA-BISSAU – The government of Guinea-Bissau has issued a decree fixing the new prices of essential foodstuffs, including rice and wheat flour as a measure to ease the cost of living.

Jamel Joao Handem, Minister of Commerce who revealed the order on September 18 said that the measure was to cushion the burdens weighing on the daily life of the population at a time when the country is in the grip of a food crisis.

In Guinea-Bissau, the availability and accessibility of rice, the main cereal consumed, is crucial to ensuring food security in the country.

The country has one of the highest levels of rice consumption per capita in the West African sub-region, with more than 100 kg per year.

In detail, the price of a 50 kg bag of 100% broken rice will now be marketed at 17,500 Fcfa (US$28.4), or 22% less than the price of 22,500 Fcfa (US$36.5) in force. previously while the price of a 50 kg bag of rice with 5% broken rice was set at 22,500 Fcfa (US$36.5) compared to 24,000 Fcfa (US$38.9) previously.  

Regarding wheat flour, the 50 kg bag will be exchanged at 24,600 CFA francs (US$39.9), a drop of 15% compared to the rate of 29,000 CFA francs (US$47) previously applied. 

According to Joao Manja, resident representative of the World Food Program (WFP) in Guinea-Bissau, data from the latest food and nutrition security monitoring survey carried out in the country indicate that more than 380,000 people are in a situation of food insecurity. 

It is not the first time that the country has taken measures to cushion the population on the burden of cost of living.

In April 2022, after Russia hit Ukraine leading to commodity market constraints, the West African country set new prices for rice, sugar, and wheat flour to adapt to the situation caused by the war.

According to the government, the change in food prices on the international market gives rise to product price speculation on the local market and this has a direct impact on the national economy, as well as on the purchasing power of the population hence the measures.

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