Food prices increase

Market vendor Maria Laniana with her produce at the Suva Municipal Market last Friday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Suva Municipal Market vendors are increasing prices to recover the added cost of transporting produce from containment borders to the market.

Maria Laniana said vendors were paying as much as $40 per trip to go to the borders to buy produce from farmers and middlemen.

“If we need to go to the Sawani border, the cost of hiring a taxi or a carrier is $40 return from the market,” she said.

“This is an added cost for us and we are still trying to recover from last weekend’s lockdown.” Ms Laniana said transport costs ate into profit margins that were already low.

“We have to sell at a certain price, otherwise people won’t buy and this usually means our profit is not that much when compared with how much we spend on buying produce.

“Before, the middlemen would come directly to the market, we didn’t have to worry about going out to get the produce and paying for transport, which is a significant amount.”

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