Anita Raj sells vegetables at the Nausori market yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI
Record high prices of fruits and vegetables around the country has left consumers at the mercy of vendors.
This comes after the devastation caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston to the country's agricultural sector.
Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Uraia Waibuta said consumers should expect an increase in the prices of vegetables for the next two-and-half months.
Mr Waibuta said some of the areas that supplied vegetables were also affected by the cyclone.
"This is something that we didn't expect, the increase in prices of vegetables," he said.
What is happening now, he said, was some vendors were taking advantage of the present situation.
A team from this newspaper, in a market survey this week in the greater Suva and Nausori area, noticed a round cabbage or gobi — the size smaller than a soccer ball — selling between $10 and $15 each, and a smaller one slightly bigger than a tennis ball, at $4.
Watchdog receives complaints on steep vegetable prices
Shayal Devi Saturday, March 12, 2016
THE sharp increase in vegetable prices in municipal markets around the country is so steep that the Consumer Council of Fiji has been inundated with complaints from the public.
CCF chief executive officer Premila Kumar said surveys conducted as a result of these complaints have found that prices for produce had tripled. She said suppliers and vendors needed to stop blaming the shortage of produce for the increase in prices.
"The Consumer Council of Fiji is questioning the market and roadside vendors over the sudden increase in price of fresh vegetables in the Suva to Nausori, Navua to Sigatoka corridors and Labasa."
Similar situations have also been noted at municipal markets in the Western Division.
"Long beans are now sold for $5 to $7 a bundle, okra at $3 to $4 a plate and eggplant is selling at $3 a plate.
"Many consumers have been contacting the council in recent days raising concern over the price increase, questioning as to why the prices of vegetables have gone up in Suva, Labasa, Navua and Sigatoka when these areas experienced minimum impact of the cyclone."
Consumers have been asked to report overpricing of goods to the council.
Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Parveen Kumar has also asked vendors to be considerate of people who have been affected by the cyclone.
"Government has played its part by waiving the stall fees for markets where people have been most affected," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with a mark-up price but it shouldn't be too high."
Babasiga (pronounced bambasinga) is the dry land of Macuata in northern Fiji - our place in the sun in Fiji. Peceli is from Fiji from the village is Vatuadova and the beach is Nukutatava. Peceli Ratawa passed away on 27th December 2015 so this is Wendy's blog now. Wendy is an Australian and today live in Geelong, Australia.