MUSCAT — Shopping malls and grocery shops across the Sultanate have witnessed more than 60 per cent increase in demand for fruit and vegetables during Ramadhan. All shopping malls, including Lulu Hypermarket, Family Shopping Centre, KM Trading, Safeer Hypermarket, City Centre, Sultan Centre and Khimji Marts are supporting Ramadhan activities and have made elaborate arrangements for Ramadhan shoppers.
However at some supermarkets, prices of fruits and vegetables have gone up sharply from the very beginning of this month. In general, many fruits and vegetables are available from within Oman. In case of shortages of some local items, "we source the same from neighbouring countries," a hypermarket spokesman told the Observer. But prices, he stressed, are maintained at the same level as previous months.
Moreover, hypermarkets remain open from 9 am to 1 am daily during the month. Every effort has been made to ensure that there are no shortages for Ramadhan shoppers. Prices of some fruits and vegetables increase slightly only due to heavy rush of shoppers. Some hypermarket sources said actually the cause of the slight rise in prices is due to increase in demand during the month. Huge public parties are organised in mosques, public parks, corporate houses and elsewhere for Iftar and Suhur every day and this pushes up the demand substantially.
Traditionally, foods eaten for the Suhoor and Iftar are light, nutritious meals containing fresh fruits, vegetables and chicken. With millions of people from across a range of communities observing Ramadhan fasting, a large variety of foods is prepared in Omani hotels, mosques and homes. For example, in some communities cucumber salad with yogurt is very popular. This recipe is perfect for Iftar and Suhoor.
Another popular preparation includes fruit-filled spring-rolls with a simple yoghurt-based sauce. It is a light, cool and refreshing dish, perfect for Iftar parties. People use any kind of fruit they have on hand, but some fruit mentioned in the Quran is used more frequently than others. The Quran has encouraged the consumption of fruit and vegetables for good health. Some of them such as date, olive, pomegranate, grape, banana, fig, cucumber, garlic, lentil and onion have been specially mentioned for their immense benefits. Therefore, their demand shoots up ever more rapidly.
Part of the reason for not a big increase in prices is that the government recently exhorted traders, suppliers and shop owners to control prices of essential commodities, especially during Ramadhan. This was part of the government’s various steps to rein in prices, said marketers.
Experts say greater consumption of fruit and vegetable during Ramadhan is a very healthy trend. Ramadhan involves a total fast with zero consumption of all foods and drinks from dawn to dusk. When a person fasts, his/her digestive system gets a chance to rest.
The body has to break down fats already present in the body in order to utilise the energy there. Thus, harmful toxins, which are stored in fat, can be expelled from the body. Fruit and vegetable consumption further enhances this process of detoxification.
It is important to choose fresh fruit and vegetables. Local products are the freshest. Also, it is important to always avoid genetically modified products as well as frozen and canned foods.