Food prices remain high in Mahdia
Despite improved access to and from Regions Seven, Eight and Nine via the Linden to Lethem trail, not many vehicles are traversing the stretch. Though the cheapest route and even with a heavy security presence, transporting cargo via air and the Bartica to Mahdia route are preferred by businesses.
Blockades which were placed at the main access roads in Linden by protestors were recently removed by security forces. However, some community roads are blocked, and there still is fair deal of uncertainty in the air. Accessing food and fuel in adjacent communities is quite difficult.
According to Region Eight Chairman, Mark Crawford, the situation remains tough in Madhia and other villages in the Region. He added that food prices are high, since businesses are transporting items via air. In addition, large volumes are being transported through Bartica to Mahdia route.
A Mahdia businessman related that diesel is being sold for $56,000 per drum, which is the normal price. While Linden was “shutdown” by protestors for several weeks the price for fuel had soared to about $80,000 per drum. Attempts to reduce the price were deterred with news of trucks being robbed along the trail.
He opined that the reduction of food prices may not be soon. He also noted that a pound of beef is $700, chicken is $800 per pound, and even provisions are expensive.
It was pointed out that operations in the “gold bush” seem to be improving. However, while many persons are leaving because of the high production cost, others are still entering the industry.