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KUWAIT CITY, June 11: Despite the government’s efforts to enhance food security, control markets, and avoid any shortage of basic commodities, consumers have been complaining about the continued scarcity of chicken in cooperative societies and parallel markets, reports Al-Qabas daily.
Inspection teams of several government agencies, including the Committee on the Food Security System, conducted a tour recently after an increase in the complaints from consumers and officials of cooperative societies alike about the great shortage of chicken and chicken products. The tour revealed the existence of an artificial crisis by some supplier companies, which refrained from supplying the markets with its products in order to increase the prices by 20 percent. This was confirmed to the daily by officials.
The tour, which was launched under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Social Affairs in some cooperative societies, revealed an abundance of some products and a severe shortage in others, especially local poultry products.
Despite the assurances of government officials about the availability of goods and the abundance of food stocks, the commercial advisor to the Zahra Cooperative Society Abdul Rasoul Sarkhouh revealed that there is a problem in the process of supplying local poultry products to the cooperative societies.
On the sidelines of the tour, he disclosed that the problem in the shortage of poultry and the current crisis is an artificial one caused by local poultry companies, which are refraining from providing supermarkets with their products due to their request for an increase in prices.
He added, “We rejected this demand to increase the poultry prices. Consequently, some local companies refused to supply, which created a shortage in the quantities required for display within cooperative societies. At the same time, the products of companies are widely available and cover a long period.
The cooperative societies are the first line of defense for the strategic stockpile in Kuwait, and have a monthly plan to provide the stock according to the current conditions that Kuwait is going through”.
The Assistant Undersecretary for the Cooperative Sector in the Ministry of Social Affairs Hiyam Al-Khudair said the food stock is sufficient and reassuring, indicating that there is price control by the Ministry of Commerce, and keenness to follow it up by the relevant committees.
Regarding poultry products, Al-Khudair explained that the matter is under study to figure out the reasons behind the lack of supply from the companies. The ministry will develop solutions in this regard.
The observations about the increase in prices and their disparity between cooperative societies relate to the mechanisms of some boards of directors.
She said, “The Ministry of Social Affairs is monitoring the situation. No request for a price increase for any commodity was submitted by the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies”.
Al-Khudair highlighted the monitoring on shortage of stock, adding, “In the event of deliberate violation of any commodity, the supermarkets responsible for this will be issued with a citation”.
Head of the Consumer Protection Authority Mishal Al-Manea explained that the cooperative societies were divided according to locations to look into the price differences.
The results led to the discovery of minor differences in some products, especially chicken. The relevant committee was informed. This necessitated the union officials to follow up the matter and conduct inspections, especially since the matter is considered a violation of the circulars of the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies.
He revealed that one of the reasons for the rise in the prices of some products is the cancellation of the annual offers submitted by some companies, and the return to their normal prices based on a previous circular from the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies.
Head of the Farwaniya Inspection Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Abdul Azim Al-Shammari said inspectors are deployed to seize cases of monopoly and profiteering in supermarkets, shops or companies, and those found in violation are referred to the commercial prosecution for necessary legal actions to be taken.