Vegetable prices in Malaysia set to soar during monsoon season

Federation of Vegetables Sellers Associations’ president Lee Kha Shiuann said vegetable prices will be on the “high” side due to the wet spell, which is expected to continue until November.


Vegetable prices are predicted to be on the “high” side due to a wet spell, which is expected to continue until November. PHOTO: THE STAR

September 21, 2023

GEORGETOWN – The monsoon transition phase is expected to affect vegetable harvests, raising the possibility of higher prices in the coming months.

Federation of Vegetables Sellers Associations’ president Lee Kha Shiuann said that with the monsoon transition phase expected to continue until November, the prices of vegetables will be on the “high” side due to the wet spell.

Among the local vegetables that will be affected are leafy greens like spinach and mustard leaves, he said.

He added that places like Cameron Highlands will see vegetables like tomatoes, Japanese cucumber and sawi (choy sum) impacted by the rain.

“It has been raining in several places and there is a slight shortage of supply.

“The wholesale price of tomatoes has increased. Two weeks ago, it was RM3 per kg, but now it has doubled to between RM6 and RM6.50,” he said, describing it as a “huge increase”.

“However, there is no shortage for now, except a slight 20% increase in prices for most vegetables compared to the previous two weeks,” he added.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department had earlier indicated that during this monsoon transition phase, the country would experience light winds from various directions, conducive to the occurrence of thunderstorms, typically accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds for short periods.

It said this phenomenon mainly occurs in the late afternoon and early evening in most areas of the west coast and inland regions of the peninsula, western Sabah, and the western and central parts of Sarawak.

The statement also said that such weather conditions could cause flash floods.

A check by The Star at the Taman Tun Sardon market here showed that there was a slight price increase.

Trader Ramli Yusof, 63, said that the price of certain vegetables, like spinach and torch ginger, had gone up.

A kilo of spinach had gone up to RM6.10 from RM5, while torch ginger now costs RM2 per piece, compared to RM1.50 before.

“Prices have increased over the past weekend. I source all the produce from a farm in Ayer Itam. There seems to be less stock, hence, the price increase.

“When the weather is bad, prices will go up. This is expected,” he said, adding that Penang had been experiencing rainfall for the past few days.

Ramli, who has been in the business for decades, said those who get their vegetables from other states will not be affected.Trader K. Segar, 56, said it is still business as usual as 60% of his vegetables come from Cameron Highlands.

“The weather has been bad in Penang, but it has been fine in Cameron Highlands. If they alert us that it is raining there, then we know prices will be raised.

“None of the vegetables I get locally has gone up in price over the past two weeks. Usually, the ones that increase are the leafy greens. I get local items like spinach, long beans, ladies’ finger and red chillies from here,” he said.

Segar, who has been in the business for 40 years, said the prices of spinach and mustard leaves would go up during the rainy season.

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