On October 27, the Iranian government increased the price of raw milk by 30 percent, shocking many citizens, particularly those whose businesses relevant to the dairy industry.
“The approved raw milk price is 31,000 rials [approximately 10 cents] per liter. However, until today, not only has this price not been observed, but the price has increased by 30 percent. Dairy companies purchase raw milk from livestock farmers for over 40,000 rials [13 cents],” said Mohammad Reza Bani-Taba, the spokesperson of Dairy Industries Union, in an interview with Jamaran News website.
“If the prices do not be corrected, dairy companies will lose their production power, and there is no possibility for production due to such circumstances,” Bani-Taba added.
Earlier, on October 25, the semi-official ISNA news agency acknowledged that egg prices have increased across the country. “According to filed reports, each eggs box is sold for up to 350,000 rials [$1.16] in various groceries.”
Furthermore, in recent weeks, the bread price increased by 30 to 100 percent in almost all of Iran’s provinces. In this respect, long queues were shaped in front of bakeries, and low-income citizens faced severe problems. Notably, according to the Parliament (Majlis) labor law, the minimum wage of workers is 28 million rials [$95] per month. However, many employees and workers have lost their jobs in the past eight months due to the coronavirus crisis.
The government claims that it supports low-income segments of society with subsidies. The mentioned subsidies go no further than 450,000 rials [$1.5] per month. In other words, in the best-case scenario, a family of four receives $6 per month to cover all its essential supplies. Given the growing number of unemployed people, increasing prices of necessary items extremely affect millions of Iranian families.
On the other hand, due to a rampant increase in flour price at the free market, many bakeries in Tehran, Eastern Azerbaijan, Western Azerbaijan, Razavi Khorasan, Alborz, and Kurdistan provinces, and other regions were shut down. Local reports say that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the state-backed mafia are pulling the flour market’s strings.
“Ten days ago, the flour price was suddenly increased in the free market due to the [government’s new policy for purchasing wheat]. This issue shocked the flour market. Our bakers were compensating for flour deficits through the free market. They purchased each bag for 500,000 rials [$1.66]. However, today, this price has reached 1.8-2 million rials [$6-6.66]. After the end of rationing flour, many units were purchasing and offsetting their deficits through the free market to continue baking. Now, they meet dilemmas due to the increase in the flour price,” Hamshahri Online website quoted the chief of Mashhad Bakers’ Union Mostafa Keshtgar as saying on October 18.
“The people are being trampled under the gears of high prices, inflation, and unemployment, and no one hears their voices. Every day, the price of essential goods and people’s needs are horribly increasing, and the market’s dire and unbridled conditions have peeled the people and created a critical situation,” said Hossein Mohammad-Salehi Daraei, MP from Isfahan province, at the Majlis’ public session on October 18.
Notably, in recent months, the government intended to compensate for its massive budget deficits through raising prices of essential goods, including fuel, bread, rice, chicken, red meat, electricity, and other supplies. However, these harrowing policies prompted the people, particularly low-income parts of society to protest authorities openly.