Egypt's supply ministry has established a weekly prices guide for fruits and vegetables, intended to contain produce prices within a specific range, Egypt's Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported on Friday.
In an initial move to implement government-imposed prices on the Egyptian produce market, supply ministry spokesman Mahmoud Diab told Ahram Online that floor and ceiling prices would be determined every Thursday by a committee of supply and agriculture ministerial officials and vendors' representatives.
"It is a pilot project to maintain a fair profit margin on fruits and vegetables for all involved parties, in addition to protecting the consumer from price manipulation," Diab said.
Diab elaborated that the prices guide is different from mandatory pricing, for the latter involves the government setting one fixed price for the good instead of a flexible, but bounded, range of prices.
According to Al-Ahram, consumers who observe sellers exceeding the price ceiling set by the official committee can file a complaint via two hotlines, 19468 and 19805. The government will then take action against the violators.
Mohamed Abu Shady, the minister responsible for investigating supply crimes, said that offenders could be fined up to LE2000 and sentenced to between one and five years in jail for ignoring the price controls.
Below is the prices guide per kilogram of fruits and vegetables for the coming week:
Tomato ranges between LE1.5 and LE2
Potato ranges between LE4.75 and LE5.5
Onion ranges between LE3 and LE3.5
Cucumber ranges between LE1.5 and LE3.5
Green beans range between LE3.5 and LE4.5
Eggplant ranges between LE1.5 and LE2.5
Pear ranges between LE8 and LE9
Pomegranate ranges between LE3 and LE4
Green and red pepper range between LE2 and LE4.5