Local fruits pricey due to low supply


Now a luxury: Even fruit sellers, such as this fruit shop in George Town, Penang, acknowledge the price issue, noting the current lack of fruit production driving prices up.

GEORGE TOWN: Local fruits are now way too expensive and this is the main reason why consumers are shunning it, according to feedback.

A Finance Ministry official, reacting to a local survey which showed that Malaysians were eating less than half the amount of fruits recommended by the World Health Organi­sation (WHO), described prices as “exorbitant”.

“It is crazy just how expensive our fruits are. How do you expect the people to increase their fruit consumption?” he asked.

The official, who is based in Putrajaya, said roadside stalls were also selling fruits at high prices.

Even the fruit sellers themselves acknowledged the problem.

One of them, Ng Beng Kiat, 53, said local fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, papaya and starfruit were also low in stock as there were fewer fruit farmers these days.

“Fruits were much cheaper back in the 1980s. Now, local fruits are almost the same price as imported ones from China and Thailand,” he said yesterday, adding that the most sought-after local fruit were guavas.

Ng said the price of watermelon and papaya had increased by 50% in the last two years.

“We could buy 1kg of the fruits at about RM1.50 two years ago, but now it costs between RM3 and RM4.

“Some of the fruits are priced according to their grades,” said Ng, who has been selling cut fruits for more than 30 years.

Another fruit seller, Toh Kim Khean, 55, said the price of watermelon was now at its peak due to the wet weather in May.

“Watermelon is priced at RM4 per kg, the highest in history.

“The price of honeydew has also increased to about RM5 per kg.

“Fruits are pricier these two months due to low supply,” he said.

It was reported yesterday that a local survey revealed that Malaysians ate less than half the amount of fruits recommended by WHO, which should be at least 146kg a year or 400gm daily.

Island Hospital dietician Lim Fei Ai had encouraged women to take two to three servings of fruit daily, with men needing three to four servings.

She also advised those with hypertension to eat four to five servings daily.


   

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