Amidst COVID19 fears, local food supplies increase

Amidst the challenges brought by COVID-19, local food supplies, and produce have continued to increase, a monthly survey of food supplies at local markets has revealed. 

The Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) monthly survey of agricultural supplies at the markets for October 2020 revealed an increase of 9 per cent in the availability of local produce compared to the previous month.

The increased availability of local agricultural food supplies has brought domestic prices down by 9 per cent when compared to September 2020. 

The report states that despite the decrease in volume of most agricultural produce, there were significant increases in the supply of taro, banana, coconut, head cabbage and cucumber that pushed the volume index up. 

Furthermore, the value of supplies rose 4 per cent to $76,900 from the previous month. While the total number of sellers has increased by 10 per cent to 311 from 282 in September 2020. 

“At 7,473 kilograms, the average supply of taro on the days surveyed expanded 29 per cent from the previous month,” reads the report.

It also added that with the increased availability of taro in October 2020 its price fell 6 per cent to $2.69 per kilogram. When compared with October 2019 current supply of taro remained unchanged while its average price was 11 per cent higher. Whereas the current supply of taro in the month under review contributed to a 9 per cent increase in volume when comparing the twelve months ending October 2020 over the twelve month ending October 2019. The price rose 1 per cent.

For the banana supplies in the month under review, it was more than doubled compared to the previous month; while increased availability led its average price to fall 17 per cent to $1.12 per kilogram. When compared with October 2019, current supply of banana was 21 per cent lower while its average price was 9 per cent lower. 

At an average of 23 kilograms, ta’amu supply in October 2020 declined 63 per cent from the previous month while its average price decreased 30 per cent (to $3.62 per kilogram). Compared to October 2019, current supply of ta’amu was 92 per cent lower while its average price was also 39 per cent lower. Although the current supply of ta’amu in the month under review contributed to a 73 per cent decrease in ta’amu volume when comparing the twelve months ending October 2020 over twelve months ending October 2019 while decreased demand pushed its average price down 6 per cent.

In October 2020, pumpkin sellers at 86 were the largest group at the local markets decreasing from 91 in the previous month and 111 in the same month last year. 

Taro sellers followed recording an increasing total of 55 from 46 in the previous month but were lower than 60 in the same month a year ago while cucumber sellers increased to 38 from 24 in the previous month but were lower than 44 a year ago. 

Banana and coconut sellers both recorded a total of 34 with banana sellers increasing from 20 in the previous month and 33 in the same month a year ago, while total sellers of coconut increased from 33 in September 2020 and 32 in the same month last year. 

Sellers of tomato recorded a decreasing total of 31 from 33 in the previous month and 44 a year ago, while sellers of Chinese cabbage also recorded a decreasing total of 15 from 20 in September 2020 and 25 in October 2019.

Head cabbage sellers followed recording an increasing total of 11 from 7 in the previous month and 10 in the same month a year ago.  Total sellers of yam recorded a decreasing total of 6 from 7 in the previous month but were higher than 5 in the same month a year ago, while ta’amu sellers followed an unchanged total of 1 from the previous month but were lower than 4 when compared with the same month a year ago. Breadfruit recorded no seller in the month under review decreasing from 2 in the previous month and 5 when compared with the same month a year ago.

The average value of selected produce supplied to the Local Markets at $76,900 in October 2020 increased 4 per cent from the previous month but was 16 per cent lower when compared with October 2019. 

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