Food in Lebanon is most expensive in Mideast region

Dubai: Lebanon’s food prices have become the highest in the Middle East and North African region, as inflation rates continued to soar amid one of the country’s worst economic crises to date, Al Arabiya reported.

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According to the World Bank periodic assessment of the repercussions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on food price inflation in the MENA region, it was found out that between February 14, 2020 and March 8, 2021, prices in Lebanon surged across all food categories.

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The country’s inflation rate in 2020 rose to almost 85 per cent, Lebanese media reported, adding that it hit its highest point since 1992. By the end of 2020, inflation stood at 145.8 per cent.

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The World Bank assessed food prices of five main food categories in 19 different countries across the region, including carbohydrates, fruits, meats, dairy products and vegetables.

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Fresh and frozen cattle meat prices jumped by 110 per cent during the assessment period, indicating the highest increase in price for this item in the region. Lebanon, Syria, and Djibouti were the only three countries to record a rise of over 35 per cent in this category. The average price increase in this category across the rest of the region was 11 per cent.

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The price of eggs increased by an average of 7 per cent for the rest of the region while Lebanon, Djibouti, Iran, Syria and Yemen saw a rise of more than 20 per cent in the price of eggs.

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Potato prices in Lebanon rose by just over 71 per cent, accounting for the highest in MENA while the prices of frozen chicken rose by 68.4 per cent.

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The World Bank also found that the prices of apples and oranges in the country grew by 58.2 and 58.4 per cent respectively.

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In August 2020, the United Nations estimated that over 55 per cent of the country’s population were trapped in poverty and had been struggling for bare necessities, stating that extreme poverty registered a threefold increase from 2019 to 2020.

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The country has been grappling with the impact of the August 4 Beirut Port Blast which injured thousands and killed hundreds, extreme hyperinflation, the coronavirus pandemic, and an incompetent ruling class.

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