Sugar shortage adds bitter taste to Eid preparations in Tunisia

Sugar shortage adds bitter taste to Eid preparations in Tunisia

Tunisians face a bittersweet reality as Ramadan approaches its conclusion. Long queues snake outside supermarkets, filled with residents waiting to buy sugar – now rationed to one to two kilograms per person, per week. This essential ingredient for the traditional sweets served during Eid al-Fitr celebrations is now a luxury many can't afford.

"Never did I think I'd be queuing for sugar in Tunisia," one shopper, Lamia Bouraoui told AFP. The 58-year-old echoes a sentiment shared by many – sugar, a subsidized staple alongside flour and semolina, has become scarce since late 2022 due to deteriorating government finances. 

Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking Ramadan's end, is traditionally a time for families across North Africa to indulge in copious amounts of sweets and pastries. However, the sugar shortage casts a shadow over the festivities.

This sugar scarcity is only one symptom of a larger economic malaise gripping Tunisia. Inflation, recession, and rising unemployment have significantly eroded Tunisians' purchasing power over the past few years. A third of the country’s population of 12 million lives below the poverty line.

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