Ramadan price hikes in Morocco trigger boycott

Water, milk, petrol and sardines targeted by consumers

22 May, 17:59

    RABAT - Price hikes on sardines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan have led consumers to stage a new boycott, which is being widely publicised through social media and the use of hashtags.
    The protest motto "let it rot" is a take-off on the "let it curdle" slogan already being used against Danone milk processing plants.
    Online users lament that in a country with 3,500 km of coastline, sardines currently cost 20 dirhams per kilogram (about two euros), when the usual price during the rest of the year is 10 dirhams.
    A boycott campaign on mineral water, milk, and petrol has already been taking place in Morocco for just under a month.
    According to the most recent polls, nearly 80% of Moroccans approve of the wave of protests, something completely new for Morocco.
    Many have already compared the current boycotts to the Hirak protest movement that had taken place in the country's north up until recent months.
    The boycott campaign is aimed mainly at Siti Ali mineral water, which is selling for six dirhams per 1.5-litre bottle, compared to five dirhams for other brands; Danone milk, which is selling at seven dirhams per litre; and Afriquia petrol, the price of which has nearly doubled in recent weeks, following the price liberalisation on petrol enacted by the government in 2015. According to a national consumer survey, 10% of the most well-off families spend 12 times more than those who are less well-off, and the standard of living of the country's richest five percent is 20 times higher than that of the country's poorest five percent.
    Half of the richest control 76% of spending power, which is three times higher than the standard of living of 50% of the less wealthy.

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