Rainy season puts a damper on fish and veg supply

Supplies of vegetables in Malaysia, especially leafy ones, are down 20 to 30 per cent.
Supplies of vegetables in Malaysia, especially leafy ones, are down 20 to 30 per cent.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA • Rough seas and monsoon rains have hit supplies of fish and vegetables in Malaysia, causing prices to rise, The Star newspaper reported yesterday.

Fish supply is down by at least half, said North Kuala Terengganu Fishermen Association chairman Jaafar @ A. Rahman Abu Bakar, as fewer boats are going out to sea in rough weather.

He told The Star that Malaysian favourites like mackerel (ikan kembung), ikan selayang and ikan selar kuning are in short supply.

Prices, according to him, have not skyrocketed, but increased by between RM2 (64 Singapore cents) and RM3 per kilogram.

"The prices have not gone up so high. On normal days, ikan kembung costs about RM7 or RM8 per kilogram; now it is about RM9 or RM10 per kilogram," he said.

Mr Lee Boon Cheow, president of the Singapore Fish Merchants' General Association, said there will be no impact on fish prices in Singapore "as we get our fish from other countries like Indonesia".

Sungai Besar Fishermen Association secretary Ji Wei Chen said that while there was an adequate supply of fish, prices have increased by 20 per cent. "It also depends on market demand. Sometimes, pomfret and big prawns are sent to countries like Singapore," he said.

Heavy rains have also affected the vegetable harvest, causing a shortfall of 20 to 30 per cent, especially for leafy vegetables, said Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers Association president Tan So Tiok.

Malaysian favourites such as sawi, bayam, kangkung and kailan are among those affected.

"The prices for these leafy vegetables have gone up between 20 and 100 per cent. If before, some of them cost RM2 per kilogram, they now cost around RM4 or more per kilogram. It also depends on the type of vegetables," said Mr Tan .

Singapore consumers can expect to see an increase of up to 20 per cent in vegetable prices, said Mr Tan Chin Hian, vice-chairman of the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association.

He said this is common during the year-end, because of the rainy season, and that tomatoes and lettuce would be among the crops affected. He added that Singapore also gets its vegetables from countries such as Vietnam and India.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Rainy season puts a damper on fish and veg supply'. Print Edition | Subscribe