Low supply, high transportation costs reason for pricey greens, say farmers

IPOH: Reduction in supply, and rising transportation costs of imported greens has led to an increase in vegetable prices, say farmers.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers Association secretary Chay Ee Mong said vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, which are imported items, were pricey due to such factors.

He said as for local vegetables, it was currently expensive due to the decline in output and the rainy season.

“In addition, fertilisers, grains, chemical pesticides, workers’ salaries have increased between 30% and 200%.When the supply recovers, the prices will be stable again, and thus consumers are advised to choose from the 90 over vegetables that are cheaper or affordable,” he said.

Chay was commenting on Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kadir who said for the past two weeks, prices of some vegetables have increased to almost 200%.

He said among the vegetables that he saw a huge rise in prices were broccoli (150%), beans (88%), cabbage (50%), red chilli (46%) and green chilli (40%).

Chay said the Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that the world will, and is experiencing a shortage of agro food supply with the impact of rising prices.

“Our country needs to import two million metric tonnes of vegetables amounting to RM5.4bil compared to local production of one million metric tonnes.

“Most of the time there are groups urging that imports are cheaper and easier, but the scenario has changed with less supply, high prices, expensive transportation costs, restrictions due to the pandemic, fierce competition, and climate change that has affected imports,” he added.

Chay said consumers complained of higher prices, but when vegetable prices fell down below the production costs, farmers failed to get any help, subsidies from any party.

“Thus the government policy must focus on increasing local productivity, as farmers have to earn a living, and livelihood. We also face increasing input costs, and more importantly also worry of lack or no supply of fertilisers, and material for our crops,” he added.

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