Products decline, prices rise at markets

There were fewer crops and sellers at local markets in January and the lack of vegetable supplies pushed up prices nationwide. 

A newly released Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) local market survey reported an overall decrease in volume of seven percent at local markets.

Limited supplies of vegetable produce raised prices up by an average of 13 per cent when compared to previous month, the S.B.S. reported.

Rough weather conditions experienced in the beginning of the year were also said to have been the reason for the significant reduction in the supply of all vegetable produce and consequent price increases. 

"Significant decreases were recorded for all agricultural produce with the exception of taro, banana, ta’amu, coconut and yam supplies. When compared with the same month last year, current supply was 11 percent higher," the report said. 

"Wet weather conditions affected the supply of vegetable produce to the Local Markets in January 2020 resulting in substantial loss in the supply of all vegetable produce."

The availability of vegetable produce including head cabbage and tomato supplies both dropped 40 percent (to 452 kilograms) and (to 128 kilograms) from December 2019.

Pumpkin supplies decreased by 33 percent (to 10,263 kilograms). 

Supplies of chinese cabbage declined 31 percent (to 88 kilograms) while cucumber supplies fell 21 percent (to 643 kilograms) when compared to the previous month. 

Head cabbage registered the largest price increase of any single commodity; it rose by 55 per cent (to $9.02 per kilogram). Chinese cabbages’ prices grew 43 per cent ($7.67 per kilogram) from the previous month.

Tomato prices also increased 29 per cent (to $14.82 per kilogram) while the average prices for pumpkin rose 15 percent (to $3.56 per kilogram) and cucumber price went up 12 percent (to $4.45 per kilogram).

Root crops including taro, banana, taamu, coconut and yam produce all hit an increase in the first month of 2020.

This was not the case for breadfruit, the January supply of which fell by 36 per cent from the month before. 

When compared with January 2019, the current availability of breadfruit supply is also said to be 60 per cent lower while its average price was also 3 per cent lower, the S.B.S. said. 

The total average value of selected produce supplied to the local markets at some $87,400 in January 2020 grew by 6 percent from the previous month and was 13 percent higher when compared with January 2019. 

The number of vendors at the local markets on the days surveyed by the S.B.S. in January 2020 was 310; a decrease of three percent from the previous month.

This figure was five percent higher when compared with the number of sellers in the same month a year ago. 

Most sellers were pumpkin vendors; pumpkin supplies contributed the most to the total value of produce surveyed with a share of 42 percent in January 2020.

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