PETALING JAYA • Farmers and fishermen in Malaysia have warned of more price hikes in the next few weeks ahead of Chinese New Year.
Some food items are already costing as much as 50 per cent more, according to the average prices recorded by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) in the middle of last month and on Thursday.
Farmers and growers associations listed several factors, including a weaker ringgit and the long monsoon season, the Malay Mail reported.
Cameron Highlands Agriculture Association chairman Ng Tien Khuan said farmers' output there had been affected by as much as 50 per cent because of the bad weather.
"Farmers are having a tough time as what they have planted cannot be harvested.
"The lack of sunlight and cold weather have affected the growth of vegetables," the Malay Mail quoted him as saying.
"This will lead to higher prices of greens. There is nothing the farmers can do as the planting to cope with the demand over the Chinese New Year season started two months ago."
In S'pore: Fish and vegetable prices have risen
Fish and vegetable prices in Singapore have increased, following a hike in prices of these items imported from Malaysia. For example, at a wet market in Sengkang, prices of white pomfret, Chinese pomfret and red grouper have risen dramatically since Tuesday.
Chinese pomfret, which usually costs about $30 per kg, is now $50 per kg, while red grouper now costs $35 per kg, up from $20 per kg.
A fishmonger at the market said: "It will become more expensive as days go."
A vegetable stall owner at the market said vegetable prices have increased by 10 to 15 per cent. Vegetables like chye sim and xiao bai chye now cost about $3 more per kg, he said.
Prices of chicken are expected to go up in the coming weeks.
Jalelah Abu Baker
Mr Ng said vegetables planted now would not grow sufficiently in time for the festival, adding that the situation affected all farmers, even those on lowlands.
Mr T. Thayalan said production at his Simpang Pulai farm had dropped because of the rain.
He grows eggplants, cabbages and beans. He added that he was able to harvest one tonne of vegetables daily previously but this had dropped to 500kg in recent days.
Mr Jeffrey Ng, president of the Federation of Livestock Farmers' Associations, said it was also possible that meat prices would go up.
He noted that higher prices of corn and oil globally were partly to blame, as well as a shortage of labour.
"Insufficient labour prevents us from working optimally, potentially jeopardising production," he said.
But Mr Ng was confident the supply of chicken, eggs and pork would be enough to meet the festive demand.
Bad weather and rough seas meant some fishermen could not do their work, said Manjung In- dian Fishermen Association president Raja Kumaran.
He added that the price of big prawns, which had been at RM45 (S$14.40) per kg for the past two months, had gone up to RM55 per kg since New Year's Day.
The price of mud crabs had also shot up from RM25 per kg to RM40 per kg, he noted, while the cost of pomfret had increased from RM45 per kg to RM70 per kg.