Heat takes a toll on the greens

  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 Apr 2016

PETALING JAYA: The hot spell is taking a toll on vegetables, fruits and flowers as well.

Not only are the prices of the greens expected to rise, the quality of the produce is also likely to suffer.

The lack of rainfall, shortage of water supply and hot weather caused the production level of vegetables to drop, said Cameron High­lands Vegetable Growers Associa­tion secretary Chay Ee Mong.

In March, there was already a drop between 10% and 20% in ve­­getable production.

“The quality of the vegetables is also affected. Our vegetables are grown in the highlands so the rising temperature is not suitable.

“In certain areas, there is a lack of water and irrigation problems. Also, there has been no rain over the past six weeks.

“If there is still no rain, there will be (more) shortages but the effects will be felt (by consumers) maybe in a month or two,” said Chay.

Cameron Highlands usually produces at least 600 metric tonnes of vegetables daily.

Chay said the rising temperature had also caused pest problems, leading to poor quality vegetables.

Some leafy vegetables such as sawi and kangkung are cheap as they are produced in the lowlands and are not affected by the hot weather.

“Only certain vegetables like the French beans and cabbages will be more expensive,” he said.

French beans, which used to cost RM3 to RM4 per kilo are now more than RM5 a kilo while the price of cabbage, that used to be between RM1.20 and RM1.50, is now more than RM2.

Cameron Highlands produces about 20 types of vegetables that include tomatoes, spring onions, watercress, radish and celery.

The production of fruits was also affected by the dry spell, said Selangor Fruit Farmers Association secretary Hoh Peng Keong.

Hoh said production was expected to drop further next month due to the weather.

Similar to vegetables, he said there was a drop in quality of the fruits harvested.

Asked on the prices, Hoh said that there was a possibility of a price hike but it would also depend on market forces.

“If there is a shortage of supply and there is demand, the prices will increase.

“At the same time, if the quality produced is not that good, people may not buy them,” said Hoh.

Cameron Highlands Floricultu­rists Association president Lee Peng Fo also blamed the hot weather and lack of water supply for a 10% to 20% drop in the production of flo­wers there.

Lee, however, said the prices of flowers would not increase.

“The prices will maintain for now,” he added.

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