Soaring tortilla prices hit struggling Mexican households hard.

4 mins read
Mexican Tortilla encounters rise in price.

For María Eugenia Aguilera, 69, her weekly shop has had nasty stickers since last year. The prices of staples like tortillas, the corn-based flatbread ubiquitous on dining tables across Mexico, have “suddenly” risen, he says. Price hikes are so common that Aguilera, who lives on the outskirts of Mexico City, no longer buys them from her local supermarket but continues to travel to the Centro de Abastos, the central grocery store that supplies much of the country. where to get the most out of your weight. “My daughters and I traveled together collecting our money,” she told Al Jazeera.

“That way we can get a little more from everyone.” Before the pandemic, Aguilera said he paid 1,314 pesos ($ 0.65 – $ 0.70) for a kilo of tortillas, now he’s lucky enough to find them for less than 20 pesos ($ 1.00). This price pressure is felt by the common people all over Mexico. In the first half of July, a kilo of tortilla cost 13.5 percent more than in the previous year, marking the strongest price increase since March 2012 according to the national consumer price index. In Mexico City, the price of the tortilla rose from 14.47 pesos to 20 pesos. Since the pandemic started in February 2020, prices for other staple foods such as tomatoes and chicken have also risen, which is squeezing household budgets.

Although President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government raised the mandatory minimum wage by 15 percent in January, many households are still struggling to pay for food, housing, electricity and gas, especially those who have not yet received their wages. a pre-pandemic financial base when the economy recovers. “A lot of people are starving in my neighborhood,” said Aguilera, who lost her younger brother to COVID19 and now supports her family too. When

Al Jazeera met the matriarch outside Mexico City General Hospital, the city’s large central public hospital, she was waiting for her 22-year-old granddaughter, who is battling uterine cancer. The cost of her granddaughter’s treatment, exacerbated by the ongoing shortage of cancer drugs in Mexico, has placed an additional financial burden on the Aguilera family.

Speculators Compound the Pain World food prices have skyrocketed this year as economies around the world relax pandemic restrictions and supply chain bottlenecks emerge. But this pain, which the poorest households feel disproportionately because an increasing part of their income is used to put food on the table, is compounded by speculators who raise corn prices, said Rúben Montalvo Morales, president. the National Directorate, the National Chamber for Cornmeal and Tortilla Industry.

Mexican tortillas: A Food Speculation.

“Those who buy our product [tortilla] the most are the least resourceful and that is the food they eat the most,” he told Al Jazeera English. In an effort to control inflation and contain expectations that prices could continue to rise, Mexico’s central bank hiked interest rates a quarter of a percentage point last month, but the remedy has been linked to neck pain. Antonio Mendoza, a financial analyst based in Mexico City, said he believed the central bank made the right decision.

“The central bank can reduce the risk of inflation and in this case it really does reduce that risk,” he told Al Jazeera. Aware that tortilla prices are an important economic barometer for most Mexicans, President López Obrador came up with the idea of ​​easing tariffs on imported corn earlier this month. “If the economy is doing well, it has to be reflected in the price of the tortilla,” said the president.

Taken and inspired from Al Jazeera.

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