Produce supply falls 31 per cent in January

A monthly survey of agricultural food supplies at local markets has revealed a decline in the availability of local produce by 31 per cent compared to the month prior. 

But despite the lack of supply, there was no corresponding increase in prices, a report issued by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) found. 

Weak domestic demand in fact pushed average produce prices down 4 per cent in January when compared to December 2020, the bureau found. 

“At 9,259 kilograms, the supply of taro to the market in January 2021 declined 26 per cent from the previous month while weakened domestic demand pushed its average price down 10 per cent (to $1.71 per kilogram),” the report said.

Despite the decline in supply of taro in the month under review, there was a 13 per cent rise in produce volume recorded on a yearly basis, comparing January 2021 to the 12 months prior. On a yearly basis, prices for the food staple also fell by 3 per cent. 

The volume of bananas supplied to the local markets in January 2021 increased by 19 per cent to 2,570 kilograms from December 2020. But on a year-on-year comparison, the amount of the fruit available was 57 per cent lower than during the same month last year.

The average price of bananas rose 5 percent (to $0.92 per kilogram) in January due to strong domestic demand. 

But when compared with the same month last year the current price was 13 per cent lower.

Ta’amu supplies in January 2021 declined 20 per cent (to 30 kilograms) from the previous month. Its average price fell drastically, plummeting by 58 per cent to reach $3.35 per kilogram. 

On the basis of a yearly comparison, the current supply of ta’amu was 47 per cent lower while its price dropped more than 60 per cent. 

In the month under review, the availability of coconuts increased 28 per cent (to 4,768 kilograms) from the month prior.

That increased availability pushed the average price of coconuts down by 12 per cent to reach $0.96 per kilogram. 

When compared with the same month in the year prior, the current supply of coconuts was down by 50 per cent; its average price fell 2 per cent over the year.

January’s wet weather negatively affected the supply of nearly all vegetable produce at local markets. Significant downturns were recorded in every category monitored except Chinese cabbage.

Pumpkin supplies fell 47 per cent to 5,020 kilograms. The volume of head cabbage fell 43 per cent to 238 kilogram. 

Tomato supplies declined 30 percent to 95 kilograms from December 2020 while cucumber supplies fell 6 per cent to 532 kilograms over the same period. 

The lack of vegetables’ supply increased prices across the board with Chinese cabbage again proving the only exception. 

At 266, the number of sellers at the local markets on the days surveyed by the bureau in January 2021 grew by 14 per cent from the month prior and were 14 per cent lower when compared to the number of sellers in January last year. 

The local market survey measures the price and volume of selected agricultural produce from the local markets at Fugalei, Taufusi, Vaitele, Afega, Saleimoa, Fasitoo Uta, Savaia, and Salelologa every month.   

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