Rising prices for staples are devastating the most vulnerable families and communities around the world, including in Egypt. To help us lift up those struggling, including our Christian brothers and sisters, SAT‑7 Communications Officer Mary Joseph shares the impact she sees around her.
As the Russia-Ukraine war began, and because Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat to Egypt, our round Egyptian brown flatbread grew smaller in a matter of days. After public outrage when the price went from 50 piasters to 75 piasters for a loaf, it was reset to 50. The Egyptian authorities continued to subsidize flour for government bakeries to keep the prices the same. Because bakeries that raised prices were threatened with a fine, bakers opted to make smaller loaves instead.
Every person with a low income is allowed a card for subsidized bread with which one can purchase 20 loaves of bread per day. The government subsidies on production are helping to keep the cost more affordable for everyone.
Bread is a staple in every home in Egypt, consumed during every meal. Those with less means make pasta sandwiches and fried potato sandwiches to fill their stomachs because they could not afford to buy meat and chicken even before the price increase.
The prices of all other staples, such as rice, pasta, beans, and oil, have also increased. Additionally, vegetables saw a dramatic increase in price. Prices also vary between government outlets and private grocers and markets. Since many families purchase from their local grocers, they are left at the mercy of unofficial prices because private shops are not monitored by government officials.
Mid-April and later mid-July saw increases in the price of gas, and with it all the prices of commodities went up because of transportation costs. Two days earlier I had tried to fill up on gas, but the station staff claimed their electricity was out. I believed them and left, but when I returned two days later the price had increased. Food and beverages saw an increase of around 25 percent from April 2021 until April 2022.
I see through my work in SAT-7 that when people are forced to go without, or when anxiety over rising prices is everywhere, in addition to nourishment for their bodies, they need spiritual food more than ever. While we cannot alleviate physical hunger, my colleagues and I at SAT‑7 in Egypt know what a difference it makes when a person can lean on God in times of crisis.
Please pray with us that viewers will be spiritually encouraged by SAT-7’s programs, such as You Are Not Alone, which airs weekly from Lebanon, as well as our many discipleship programs and special teaching productions such as Hope in Times of Hardship, which began airing just as price increases caused by the conflict began to bite. Pray that those who need God will find Him there and receive comfort and peace in these difficult times.
SAT-7 Communications Officer | Mary Joseph is based in Cairo, Egypt. She has also lived in Australia and worked as a journalist in secular and religious media. Her passions are reading, writing, traveling, and photography.