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Rajendra Mangalie, third from left, at the launch of Mangalie foods in Charlieville yesterday.

The pandemic has seen many business operations fold under economic pressure.

Former national cricketer Rajendra Mangalie, 55, has instead diversified his operations into the dry goods business.

Yesterday, he opened Mangalie Foods Wholesale and Retail Limited at Francis Lalla Road, Charlieville.

Mangalie started a ceiling supply company 16 years ago.

He said, “The directors in the company decided five months ago to enter the dry goods market because we saw a growing need for food supplies globally.”

He said prices were fluctuating upwards and consumers were finding difficulty to make purchases because of reduced spending power.

Mangalie said the directors decided to diversify and source dry goods at cheaper price to ensure that all could eat.

He said, “Although we are in business, we saw a greater humanitarian need. People were complaining about the prices and a lot of people had to starve. We had the capacity to divest and this opportunity enables us to give back to the wider community at prices they can afford.”

Mangalie said the company would be selling oil, rice, sugar, beans, channa, dhal, and related merchandise.

He said the move to divest has allowed the company to hire 10 additional staff members.

Mangalie said high freight costs are the major reason prices have gone up.

He said in June 2020 it costs US$3500 to ship a container from China.

That cost is now US$15,000 and going up, he noted.