Rainfall affecting availability, cost of ‘greens’ – Mustapha

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Constant rainfall has been having a negative impact on the availability and price of “greens” and the government is looking to see how it can ease the burden on consumers, Minister of Agriculture Zulficar Mustapha has said.

“It has been (raining) since the last year; I don’t think that we have had any break in the weather,”

“Now supposed to be the hottest and driest month in the year and we still get rainfall almost every single day,” Mustpaha told the News Room.

When it rains, he said, “Farmers are unable to go into the lands to cultivate” The rainfall, he noted also results in flooding and farmers “keep losing crops.”

The minister said his ministry is trying to access the situation to find ways to help farmers.

“I have my people in the field; they are going around to see what help we can give to the farmers because of the limited amount of produce in the system.

“So we are working to see how we could get it down and work with farmers to see how we could help,” he said.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha is pictured holding a root of broccoli_ one of the high-value crops.

The News Room visited the Bourda market where Nicky, a frequent shopper there, said she observed tremendous price increases in recent weeks.

“It’s not a nice thing what’s going on because the poor people feeling it…I just ask the woman just now why the prices raise and she said it’s a lot of rain; yes, it’s a lot of rain but still, people got to eat,” she complained.

Meanwhile, vendors explained that prices also increased because of the multiple expenses they have to cover.

Nucky, a shopper at the Bourda Market

Danny, a vendor at the market said that when they buy fruits and vegetables from the producers and farmers they have to pay the price demanded. They then have to sell at a cost that will enable them to make back that money.

At the market it was observed that the cost of bora has increased with the bundles being far less, the same followed for callaloo, ochro, and pumpkin with smaller pieces being sold at added costs.

Supermarkets, stores and other consumer outlets also increased their product prices.

As it relates, to the cost of fuel, the government, on multiple occasions, reminded that it removed tax from the costs.

“It is well known that this Government established a mechanism whereby the excise tax on fuel is lowered when the world market prices for fuel increases. As previously reported, we used this mechanism twice in 2021 to lower the excise tax rate on gasoline and diesel from 50 to 35 and then from 35 to 20 percent,” Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh explained while announcing the National budget. Freight costs had also been rolled back to pre-pandemic prices but the impact of the pandemic is evident.

Last month there was a shortage of products on the local market owing to the supply chain demands.

In addition, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still noticeable. With multiple lockdowns around the world, shipment delays caused material and foods to be held back. In some cases these products were thrown out due to expiration.

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