Jordan's authorities expect the demand for food commodities during Ramadan  this year to exceed levels of previous years, mainly due to the rising number of Syrian refugees and the return of Jordanian expatriates for summer holidays.
On Tuesday, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Hatem Halawani urged merchants and importers to increase food supplies in the local market ahead of the holy month of Ramadan as demand for food items usually goes up sharply.
According to a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times, Halawani held separate meetings with delegates representing poultry breeders, meat importers, the Foodstuff Traders Association (FTA) and owners of large supermarkets to discuss preparations for supplying the market with enough food stocks to meet the anticipated rise in demand.
Merchants estimate that food consumption during Ramadan usually increases by 50 per cent when compared with other months.
FTA figures show that average food consumption during the fasting month in recent years reached around JD500 million ($700 million).
The minister noted that consumption during this year’s Ramadan is set to surpass average demand in previous years as thousands of Jordanian expatriates are expected to spend the holy month in the Kingdom and due to the fact that Jordan is hosting almost half-a-million Syrian refugees.
The fasting month is slated to start in the first half of July according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Boosting strategic reserves of food supplies in Ramadan to meet rising consumption is a top priority for the government, the statement quoted Halawani as saying.
As the new Cabinet, formed March 30 , has seen the reintroduction of the supply portfolio by adding it to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Halawani stressed that the government “will not hesitate to take the necessary decisions that aim at controlling the market in terms of food availability and price stability”.
According to the statement, poultry producers stressed that chicken prices would see a drop at least 10 days before the start of Ramadan due to an expected rise in production and a decrease in production costs.
Food traders and meat importers also said that they have begun preparations to provide the market with large quantities of food stocks, the statement noted.