January 1, 2013

Prices of seafood and greens soar

KUALA LUMPUR: The monsoon season has played havoc with retailers as vegetable and seafood prices escalated due to a drastic fall in supply.


Federation of Vegetable Sellers Associations Malaysia president Datuk Soo Cheng Kee said the prices of almost all vegetables had increased by between 30 and 50 per cent.

Federation of Vegetable Growers Association chairman Tan So Tiok said prices of leafy vegetables, such as bayam (spinach), kangkung (water spinach), sawi (mustard leaves), and kai lan (chinese broccoli) had spiked due to the weather and massive floods in the east coast.

Kuala Lumpur Vegetable Wholesalers Association president Chong Tek Keong said retailers have not faced such an acute shortage of vegetables in the past 30 years.

"If the rain persists, there will likely be a further rise during the Chinese New Year. Farmers cannot ensure a steady supply due to the unpredictable weather," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

National Fishermen's Association general manager Norizaman Ghazali, however, said there was only a slight increase in seafood prices.

"Normally, during the monsoon season, the prices of seafood will increase as fishermen, especially in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, do not go out to fish."

A check by the New Straits Times at several wet markets in the Klang Valley revealed that vegetables and seafood prices had drastically increased. The prices of leafy vegetables shot up as high as RM6 to RM7 per kg from RM2.50 at some places like the Taman Tun Dr Ismail wet market.

Retailers at the TTDI wet market were selling spinach, mustard leaves and water spinach for RM6 per kg, while coriander at RM25 per kilo. Coriander used to be available at RM8 per kg.

Vegetable seller Tan Kai Hiong, 39, said the erratic weather has made it difficult for them to get their vegetable supply.

"The prices have been increasing since October. If the weather is good, small farmers will be able to yield an average of 100 kg of harvest a month. During this rainy season, they can only produce between 40 and 50 kg."

Seafood seller Ng Kel Penn, 42, said the price of fishes, prawns, crabs and squids had gone up by 15 per cent.

Chow Kit wet market vegetable sellers, Lau Zui Le, 62, and Jeff Kweh Chun Sian, 26, said the price fluctuated according to demand and quality.

"The vegetables we used to sell for RM2 now cost RM4."

A vegetable seller at the Selayang wet market, who declined to be named, said her business was not hugely affected despite the hike in vegetable priceS.

"Consumers continue to buy vegetables, although they cost double the price now.

"The only difference is that they buy them in small quantities."


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