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Cassava supply still short

Monika Singh
Saturday, March 26, 2016

MARKET vendors in the Capital City now have an abundant supply of dalo, however, cassava still remains short in supply.

A visit to the Suva Municipal Market and the Bailey bridge market on Thursday confirmed this.

Manjula Wati has been selling vegetables at this market for the past 35 years with just one stall but today, she has six.

"This is the dalo season and with the Easter long weekend upon us, people have been looking for dalo because they would be making lovo and other dishes which would require dalo," she said.

Ms Wati said she usually bought dalo from the Suva market and on Thursday, she took delivery of the crop from her supplier.

The dalo is being sold at $15 a bundle at Ms Wati's stall.

"Dalo is in supply but we are not getting any supply of cassava and even kumala. These two crops are really short in supply," she said.

The shortage in supply of root crops and other vegetables has resulted in the increase in price of vegetables with the Government sounding the warning that food prices were expected to increase even further.

This shortage of root crops has resulted in some exporters not being able to meet the demand.

Peni Moi of Ben's Trading Ltd in Navua said they were short supplied with taro and there was no supply of cassava and breadfruit.

Mr Moi said this would cost them about $3million in loss of revenue.

However, Agriculture Marketing Authority executive chairman Filipe Alifereti said the shortage would not affect small exporters on such a big scale.

Mr Alifereti said AMA exported less than 10 containers of root crops in a month.

"We buy from farmers who do not have a fixed market for their produce. Therefore we buy from them and sell," he said.

At the moment the AMA had about 45 cassava farmers and 61 dalo farmers supplying to the authority, he said.

"We are hopeful supply will improve eventually.

"Our focus now will be the areas which have not been affected by the cyclone so that we can buy root crops from farmers in those areas," he said.








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