How much will the Easter feast cost you – Report from Georgian market
10 April, 2015
How much will the Easter feast cost you – Report from Georgian market
Customers complain about increased prices while traders complain about lack of customers

There is very little time left before Easter is in Georgia. However, traders selling ingredients for Easter preparations and other festive paraphernalia predict a sharp increase in prices.

“The tomato that costs 3.5 GEL today will cost 4 GEL tomorrow,” tells one of Navtlughi Market’s salesmen. However, neither he nor his fellow traders can say whether the inflated prices will remain after the holiday is over.

People who
use farmers’ markets as their main source of products and income have taken the heaviest hit from the currency crisis. Customers complain about increased prices while traders complain about lack of customers; the circle has closed. has paid a visit to the Navtlughi Market, which boasts a reputation of being cheaper than its counterparts. Both the growth in prices and lack of customers were starkly visible, especially considering Easter is merely two days away. Yet for some reason, the market is not as packed as it used to be.

Manana, 45:

“For poor people like us, this cheap market was a huge boon and now it has also become expensive. Prices grow with every passing day. I try to save as much as I can, but money no longer has power. There are times when I can spend 20 GEL on what is virtually nothing. And when a bank is choking you with debts, you can’t afford to be picky with what you eat. We try to make sure that our children have enough meat and milk, while we adults get by on vegetables. Unfortunately, not even vegetables are cheap anymore; beet leaves and spinach cost 50 tetri now. This is the life we are forced into nowadays.”

Leri, 40:

“We managed to stock up on certain products before the prices skyrocketed. For example, I bought some beef at Eliava market for 11 GEL. But if this trend continues, no one will visit the markets anymore. The amount of customers has already decreased. There seems to be no limit to dollar’s exchange rate increasing, and I don’t know what awaits us next.”

After talking to consumers, we went to familiarize ourselves with the prices. It turned out that at Navtlughi Market, an egg costs from 0.25 to 0.3 GEL, a kilogram of potatoes costs from 0.7 to 1 GEL, mushrooms - 4 GEL, eggplants - 3 GEL, onions – 1.2 GEL, carrots – 0.80 GEL and a kilogram of beets costs 1 GEL.
As for fruit, a kilogram of oranges costs 2 GEL and a kilogram of apples – from 1.5 to 2.5 GEL, although one can find the latter priced at 0.5 to 0.7 GEL; though, worm-ridden and small in size.

According to salesmen, Georgian apples are relatively cheaper than imported ones. Sometimes the price of the latter exceeds 3 GEL. A kilogram of bananas costs 5 GEL, while a kilogram of overripe bananas can be purchased for 3.5 GEL.

The only products that have actually gotten cheaper are greens – the price of one bundle begins at 0.1 GEL. As for cucumbers and tomatoes, the price for a kilogram ranges from 3 to 3.5 GEL. Their Turkish counterparts are cheaper, priced at 2-2.5 GEL.

As for dairy products, one liter of milk costs 2 GEL, the price of cheese ranges from 8 to 15 GEL, with Sulguni costing 13. Cottage cheese and nadughi cost 5-6 GEL per kilogram.

“I will not increase the price on my cheese anymore because it will drop in a month anyway. But increase or decrease, customers are still nowhere to be seen. I haven’t seen anything like this in my life, especially right before Easter. Trade here is dead. A day can go by without me selling a single thing. The dollar’s exchange rate is to blame for this; there is nothing to look forward to yet,”- says one of the traders.

Next part of the market we visited was the meat section. Beef costs 11 GEL per kilogram, pork costs 10 GEL, frozen pork costs 8. Innards cost 5 GEL, while mincemeat costs 8. Countryside chicken costs 5 GEL, while farm-grown chickens cost from 6 to 7 GEL.

“It takes a journey through the entire market to find the cheapest deals. Long story short, the market has become pricy – astronomically so. Not so long ago you could buy enough for a nice dinner with 10 GEL, while now you can barely buy anything with this amount,”- says Luiza Samkharadze, a local denizen.

By the end of our trip to the market we decided to take a look into the confectionary section. Shelves brimming with dried fruit and nuts were almost completely devoid of customers. We didn’t see a single person walking into that section during our stay there.

“Last year’s nuts are insanely expensive; the price hasn’t decreased by as much as a single lari. Walnuts cost from 20 to 25 GEL, while dark nuts cost about 17. Customers are still nowhere to be seen. The people here were poor to begin with, and this dollar problem has completely wrecked us,”- the traders say.

By Salome Gogokhia
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