Hike in prices for some vegetables attributed to “heavy rainfall”

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The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture are monitoring the increase in prices for some vegetables across the country.

A statement from the Commerce Ministry noted that several consumers have complained of an almost 100% increase in the cost of most vegetables at both markets and supermarkets over the last three weeks. The notable price hikes were also widely reported in the media, the ministry noted.

Research conducted by the Department of Commerce said the increase in prices was attributed mainly to heavy rainfall that affected the production of cash crops in Regions 3, 5, and 6.

“However, some prices have started declining over the last few days and the Ministry expects this trend to continue as the situation stabilizes. Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond, says the Ministry will continue to work with other ministries and agencies to provide the necessary support and relief to farmers. Minister Walrond adds that the government understands the negative financial impact the sharp increase in prices of these staple items can have on the Guyanese consumer, as well as the tourism and hospitality sector. She stresses that the government is monitoring the situation closely in a bid to determine any necessary intervention,” the statement noted.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, on Tuesday told the News Room that he has been analyzing the ongoing situation.

“This came about because of the heavy rainfall that we have experienced. A number of farmers were flooded out. But at the same time, we have given back a number of farmers some help,’’ the minister said.

He explained that the Agriculture Ministry is working with farmers to cover their expenses and replace their equipment.

“As a matter of fact, we are giving back planting materials, pesticides and fertilizers so that they can go back into farming,’’ the minister said.

He hopes the situation is temporary and that some sense of normalcy will return.

Additionally, the minister also stated that the drainage systems are incapable of removing water as a result of excessive rainfall.

“We are trying to have 24-hour drainage. When we have the tide, we’ll drain with the sluices, and when the tide is up, we’ll use these pumps. We have 12 additional pumps across the country and that will be a continuous process- that we’ll have more pumps coming on stream so that we can boost our drainage system.”

Mustapha also urged residents to desist from littering as it affects the pumps and impedes the flow of water to drain.

“I went to Lowland and this problem has compounded the situation where the residents were in flooded conditions and I have since sent in a machine there and we have desilted all the drains and canals in the area. I hope that we’ll not have that problem again. So I want to ask residents to desist from doing that and we’ll work with them to ensure they have maximum drainage,” he noted.

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