NEWS

A-G: Food Price Drop Expected

Expect the price on imported food and some goods to drop over the next few months as freight charges will fall by September.
06 Jul 2022 20:30
A-G: Food Price Drop Expected
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Leon Lord.

Expect the price on imported food and some goods to drop over the next few months as freight charges will fall by September.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said freight rates of containers from New Zealand to Fiji before the coronavirus pandemic were about $5500, after the pandemic, it went up to $16, 500.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said shipping companies had indicated to Government that the freight charges were expected to drop in September because more containers would be readily available.

 

“Prices of food and fuel are going up, there is no doubt about that. We are not denying that the prices of things are going up,” he said.

“There are two types of inflation, they are domestic and world inflations. Before Cyclone Winston in 2016, the price of yaqona was $85 a kilo after the category five cyclone hit it was $185 a kilo.”

This was because all yaqona plantations were destroyed by the category five cyclone. There was high demand of yaqona but there was low supply.

 

Long beans were $2 a bundle before the category five cyclone after it hit, market vendors were selling it for $5 a kilo.

This was due to the supply and demand issue.

“As a result of the pandemic, the cost of freight increased. China has a bulk of containers, countries were not able to have access to it as some states and provincials were still shut down,” he said.

 

During the National Budget Consultations at the Saint Vincent DePaul Parish Hall in Nausori, he said prices of goods went up due to the increase in prices of freight and is- sue on supply.

So, the containers were less in supply and there were high demand.

“In terms of supply chain, there are shortages of raw materials for mobile phones due to closure of borders. There are many articles written overseas that there was lack in supply of microchips,” he said.

The Russian-Ukraine war added fuel to the fire.

 

“Now there is a trade ban in Russia by some European countries. There is a direct gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, now that has stopped.”

“We need gases to cook and to use it for other purposes. Ukraine feeds about 400 million people in the world, they produce the largest amount of wheat.”

“Wheat is used to make roti, babakau and panikeke. All of these are made in flours. In Fiji, only two companies produce flour.”

“Both import their wheat from Australia, before they put it out to the supermarkets, they go to the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission because it is the price controller.”

 

“They would tell staff at the commission that they bought the wheat for $300,000 a tonne and the added costs to it like labour than the organisation would determine the price to sell the wheat for.”

“This is called wholesale prices. Then they would sell it to the supermarkets. For example, Shop N Save would determine the price after taking it into account the rent and labour costs, this is retail,” he said.

He said Fiji’s strong reserves position has ensured stability of the exchange rate and helped the country avoid unwarranted speculation that would have affected confidence in the Fijian dollar.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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