Monday, January 16, 2012

More expensive vegetables due to poor weather

Whenever it rains too much, we get vegetable shortage as the harvest from the farmers reduced. And that means price increase. No choice but to pay for it, we still need to eat. When it comes to food prices, not just vegetables, but a wide variety of food items has been increasing price for the past many years due to many factors not just due to poor harvest from bad weather, but also from transportation affected by soaring petroleum which affect fuel for transportation, which in turns affect cost of living and you know, the cycle continues. The problem is when the increase of cost far outstrip the income earned, it means we are getting poorer everyday due to shrinking value of money. That's inflation, when price goes up, it seldom comes down, but our wages hardly ever goes up...

Having the blues over greens
Monday January 16, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese New Year, a time to usher in prosperity and good fortune, will be a costly affair this year.

The reunion dinner, considered one of the main events, will be more expensive with vegetable prices continuing to soar due to the smaller harvest.

It is especially bad this time because heavy rains in Cameron Highlands have caused the supply of greens to drop.

The problem has been compounded with China, India and Thailand – on which Malaysia depends a lot for the import of vegetables – exporting less as they too are facing bad weather conditions.

Remaining unperturbed: Despite the price hike, consumers are still willing to splurge on the greens.
Remaining unperturbed: Despite the price hike,
consumers are still willing to splurge on the greens.

Local vegetable growers are lamenting that production has hit an all-time low this season, with many saying output had dropped by 40%.

Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Growers secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said this was the most severe shortage in recent years.

"The shortage is also due to a lack of workers at vegetable farms. Many workers who have registered under the 6P programme are now opting for better paying jobs elsewhere," he said.

Malaysia Fruit Exporters Association secretary Wong Kok Mun said dragon fruit, which is in demand this Chinese New Year, was more expensive because of the shortage of supply.

"Again, it is due to the bad weather," he said.

Vegetable seller Tan Kai Hiong, who operates a stall at a market here, said the prices of some vegetables had almost doubled.

"Chillies were less than RM10 a kilo a few months ago. Now, it is RM18. Brinjals, which was RM6 per kilo, are now RM8. Other vegetables like long beans and red pepper are also costlier," the 37-year-old said.

On a brighter note, Tan said the supply of lotus roots and mushrooms was not affected.

C.W. Ong, who operates a vegetable shop in Petaling Jaya, said round cabbages, symbolising wealth at Chinese New Year dinners, were up by about 50 sen per kilo.

"Last year, it was at about RM2 a kilo but now it can go up to RM3," said the 30-year-old.

Chinese New Year delicacies such as dried sliced meat (known as bak kwa in Hokkien) have also become more expensive due to the increase in production costs.

Despite the price increase, parents are still willing to splurge so their children can have a good celebration.

Bank employee Sok Chin, 40, said: "If we save money at all, it will be on our part and not on the children's. They deserve to have the best celebratory meals for Chinese New Year, so I won't save on food." -- The Star News

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