By opening the Mercabal wholesale market, the government hopes to address concerns from the private-sector food industry that they had no alternative but to buy supplies from retail stores. This not only meant they were paying high prices, but it has also led to shortages in those stores for ordinary consumers.
Mercabal will sell a limited array of the products most in demand in cafes and bars. These staples include sugar, salt, beans, beer, chicken, and hamburgers. Products are sold at prices between 20 and 30 percent less than in retail stores.