Wholesale mart closure sparks a rush


SINGAPOREANS emptied supermarkets of green leafy vegetables on Sunday after the surprise shutdown of the Pasir Panjang wholesale market on Saturday left some wet markets without any greens. 

By noon, vegetable stalls at most places, including Tiong Bahru market, were left with just a few baskets of potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers. 

Sales associate Florence Leong, 39, found crowds grabbing the greens at Cold Storage in Tiong Bahru Plaza. 

“I expected it. People were buying even vegetables that did not look fresh,' she said. 

The panic buying in the morning led the NTUC FairPrice, other supermarkets and some restaurants to voice assurances that they have enough greens and will not raise prices. 

FairPrice buys 90% of its vegetables and fruits direct from a local farm or Australia, China and Indonesia. 

Later in the night, after the Government said the three-day shutdown of Pasir Panjang would be extended to 10 days, FairPrice again assured that it would not change the price of existing stocks. 

“We will hold prices for new stocks for as long as we can,” its spokesman added. 

Pasir Panjang has been closed for cleaning after two tenants were diagnosed with the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.  

An estimated 2,400 market workers are also quarantined at home for 10 days, as of Sunday.  

The shutdown was announced on Saturday night. 

On Sunday, vegetable suppliers, chefs and housewives packed supermarkets and other vegetable distribution centres. 

By noon, all greens at his stall in Toa Payoh Lorong 8 market were gone. – The Straits Times /Asia News Network  

  • Another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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