Thursday January 3, 2013
Farmers hoping for kinder weather to bring prices down for Chinese New Year
By EILEEN NG
PETALING JAYA: Chinese New Year is 40 days away and vegetables farmers are keeping their fingers crossed that the current rainy weather, which had resulted in a 30% spike in prices, will clear by this week.
Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Growers secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said they were hoping it would be sunnier by the end of this week to ensure no disruption to vegetable supply for the New Year celebration on Feb 10.
“If the weather improves, we can still get a good yield as vegetables mature about a month after planting. If the current weather continues, our output will plunge by 50% and this will affect vegetables prices,” he warned.
He said the current rainy spell, which started in the middle of last month, had seen farm prices of vegetables go up by 40% due to a 20% drop in output.
The average daily output for vegetables in Cameron Highlands, which supply 30% of the country's vegetables, is 550 tonnes per day.
For example, the price of cabbage at farms has gone up from RM1.20 to almost RM2 per kilo, while tomatoes have seen a 40% hike from their previous farm price of RM2.50 to RM4 per kilo.
Prices of red chillies have also increased by 30% while the farm price for sawi is now between RM2.20 and RM2.50 per kilo, as opposed to its normal price of RM1.50.
He said farmers had erected rain shelters over their crops as a contingency measure but this would affect their growth and quality due to lack of sunlight.
Federation of Vegetable Sellers Associations Malaysia president Datuk Soo Cheng Kee said it was too early to ascertain whether prices of vegetables would be affected come Chinese New Year.
“If the weather improves over the next two weeks, then output should be back to normal,” he said.