· Most bakeries in Gaza report to be currently working at 60-70% capacity only, due to the low demand given the shortage in cooking gas and the dependence of most people to humanitarian assistance.
· The total daily needs of wheat flour requirement in Gaza amount to 450mt/day; the total mill stock as of 19 May will cover Gazan needs for approximately 17 days, i.e., until 4 June 2009.
Figure 1: Total wheat flour stock for all mills in Gaza Strip (Sep08-May09) (in thousands)
· The total fishing catch in April 2009 amounted to 79mt (Fig2), which represents one third of the amount in April 2007. This is due to restrictions by Israeli authorities to access the sea, whereby fishing activity remains limited to 3 nautical miles from the shore.
· The current quantity of sardine found on the market is estimated at 20-50 kg daily, instead of the usual 100-150 mt/day during this period, which follows the April sardine season.
· On 19 May, the sardine price ranged between NIS 23-25/Kg while it was last year at NIS 10- 12/Kg. This due to the reduction in the quantity of the sardine catch, since this type of fish is found after 6 nautical miles.
Figure 2: Variations of fishing catch in March 2007, 2008 and 2009
Market price analysis
· The price of basic commodities (wheat flour, cooking oil, salt, rice, pulses) decreased in May 2009 as compared to those of April, with the exception of the price of sugar, which increased by 4.9%, due to the exchange rate of the US dollar.
· The price of chicken is lower in May 2009 than before the war, and has decreased since April given the increment in production and the inability for the population to purchase, because of the lack of cash.
Table 1: Price of the basic commodities in Gaza Strip (Dec.08-May09)
· The price of fresh meat remains high (NIS 60/Kg), due to the fact that Israeli authorities bar the import of cattle and small ruminants into Gaza since November 2008. As a result, some cattle and small ruminants have been entering Gaza from Egypt through the tunnels. Given the low level of safety control, livestock entering through the Egyptian tunnels are often suffering from diseases, particularly from PPR (peste des petits ruminants), Enterotoxemia, Sheep Pox and Brucellosis. The vaccine shortage in the Gaza Strip has lead to an increase in the mortality rate of small ruminants. A recent import of vaccines1 into Gaza and the consequent vaccination of many cattle/ruminants has solved this problem temporarily, however, vaccines remain a priority import item if the potential for future disease outbreaks is to be avoided.
· The amount of cooking gas available in Gaza remains low: the total imports in April 2009 (approximately 3,543 t) covered only 49% of the needs. However, imports of cooking gas through the crossing points amounted to 5,138 mt, covering approximately 64% of the needs.
Figure 3: The trend of cooking Gas import in Gaza (Jan.08-Apr.09)
Figure4: Price fluctuation of basic food commodities between December 2008 and 19 May 2009
Food imports in Gaza
Total imports (basic commodities) in April 2009 amounted to approximately 28,000 mt; of which 62% were commercial commodities and 38% humanitarian commodities.
o Wheat grain represented 35.1% of the total imports of commercial commodities, while no wheat grain was imported as a humanitarian commodity.