The prices of vegetables have increased, and according to the Kuala Lumpur Vegetable Wholesalers Association (KLWA), the northeast monsoon is to blame for it
Free Malaysia Today reported that the prices of cauliflower, beans, chillies, and several other vegetables have risen by about 200% over the last two weeks.
According to an infographic posted by Harian Metro today, 24 November, cauliflower has more than doubled in price from RM7/kg to RM16/kg, while the price of broccoli has increased from RM8/kg to RM20/kg.
Meanwhile, the price of bok choy — or sawi pendek — has seen the steepest increase, as it has tripled from RM3/kg to RM9/kg.
The price of cabbage has also increased by 33% from RM4/kg to RM6/kg.
For the past two weeks, cauliflower prices have shot up by more than 100 per cent – from RM7 (S$2.30) to RM16 per kg – while cai xin, a Malaysian staple, has increased from RM3 to RM9 per kg.
He said the price of spinach, depending on quality, is between RM3 and RM4, compared with RM2 per kg before the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the price of chilli is also higher now, with the local market selling it for RM10-RM15 per kg.
Wong also attributed the shortage and thereby the high prices to a lack of manpower. “The slow recovery of the economy is making it difficult to bring in workers from overseas,” he said.
He said distributors in Cameron Highlands, where much of the country’s vegetables are grown, had notified him of the floods and landslides and the shortage of manpower.
Malaysia imports about two-thirds of its vegetable needs and, according to Cameron Highlands Vegetable Farmers Association president Chai Kok Lim, global restrictions due to Covid-19 have hurt supply.
“These prices are greatly influenced by the laws of supply and demand,” he said. “Vegetables like chilies are expensive because they are seasonal and depend on import factors.”
He said the cost of transportation was also going up, leaving suppliers with no choice but to raise prices.
The issue of rising vegetable prices was brought up recently by the Consumers’ Association of Penang. It urged the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry and the federal agricultural marketing authority to investigate, saying it feared suppliers were violating the Anti-Profiteering Act.