GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Bad weather and high demand have driven up vegetable prices in Malaysia.
Over the past two weeks, cauliflower prices have risen by more than 100% – from RM7 (S $ 2.30) to RM16 per kg – while cai xin, a Malaysian staple, is increased from 3 RM to 9 RM per kg.
Penang Island Vegetable Wholesalers Association President Tan Ban Ben said the price and supply of vegetables is largely determined by weather conditions.
He said the price of spinach, depending on the quality, was between RM3 and RM4, up from RM2 per kg before the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the price of chili is also higher now, with the local market selling it for between RM10 and RM15 per kg.
“The monsoon season has affected vegetable production, especially in places like the Cameron Highlands.
“Vegetables are always more expensive during the rainy season or on long dry days.
“The rainy season also sees vegetables imported from Thailand cost more,” he said.
Mr Tan said the supply of vegetables would be sufficient for the upcoming festivities, adding that prices would be reduced once the rainy season is over.
A vegetable vendor, who only wanted to be known as Ms. Tan, said she had to sell her vegetables at a lower price to avoid losses.
“Last time a handful of chili peppers cost customers only between RM1 and RM2, but now it can go up to RM5,” she said at the Pulau Tikus market in Penang.
Penang Consumers’ Association (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kadir said that in the past two weeks, prices for some vegetables have increased by nearly 200%.
He said that among the vegetables that saw huge price increases were broccoli (150%), beans (88%), cabbage (50%), red chili (46%) and green chili ( 40%).
He said relevant agencies, such as the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority, must take immediate action to bring prices down.
“CAP has also received complaints from vegetable retailers that distributors and wholesalers have warned them that the prices of other vegetables may increase in the coming weeks,” he said.