Veg prices up

PRICES of vegetables in the Suva market have soared with some vegetables being sold at almost three times more than the price at which they were bought.

These vegetables are supplied from the Western Division but suppliers from the Eastern Division have also increased their prices, vendors say.

Vendor Ronesh Prasad said vegetable supply from the West had been affected and this resulted in higher retail prices.

“Our profit is also being affected.

“We are not making as much as before. We have our expenses.

“The market fees, cost of buying the vegetables and then with added higher price, our profit margin has decreased,” said Mr Prasad.

“Ghobhi (English cabbage) was sold to us for $20 a kilo.

“Now we are paying $35 a kilo, which means that what we used to sell for $1 is now being sold for $3.

“The heat and dryness has also affected the quality of the vegetables.”

Another vendor Daven Kumar of Navua said high prices meant people were not that eager to spend money.

“Diwali is coming and during this time, most Hindus are vegetarians.

“This means increase in demand for vegetables. We are anticipating prices to increase,” Mr Kumar said.

“As it is, prices of things like bhindi has gone up to $4 per kilo, bean which we used to get at $14 for 12 bundles now cost us $30 for the same quantity.

“We have to take our costs out and then set our profit margin.”

Consumer Council CEO Premila Kumar said nobody had control on nature but this did not mean that middlemen take advantage of the situation.