Dalo, Cassava See Further Increase Amid Rising Costs

Two of the nation’s most com­mon staple foods have sky­rocketed recently based on the price of fuel increase and over­all stemmed from the rising cost of living.
11 Nov 2023 16:29
Dalo, Cassava See Further Increase Amid Rising Costs
Usenia Susu selling dalo in Labasa market on November 10, 2023. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Two of the nation’s most com­mon staple foods have sky­rocketed recently based on the price of fuel increase and over­all stemmed from the rising cost of living.

Three months ago, Fiji Sun report­ed that prices had soared to unprec­edented heights.

Following on from the above, we conducted a simple Market Watch for dalo and cassava at the munici­pal markets on Friday and found ranging yet similar prices in towns and cities particularly in Labasa, Suva Nadi and Lautoka.


At the Suva Municipal Market, vendor, Miliana Rokowati, who travelled all the way from Naitasiri, was selling dalo at $40 a bundle.

When we asked her on why she was selling it at that price, she said that it was to match the cost of liv­ing.

“But if you can’t afford that then you can always buy it in small heaps at the price of $5.”

She insisted that like everyone else, she had bills to pay and she also wanted to save money for rainy days so the high price could not be avoided.

Middleman, Miriama Lele of Tai­levu, said she had no choice but to sell her dalo within the range of $20 to $40 because her prices were di­rectly influenced by suppliers from villages.

“We’re selling at this price be­cause the people we buy it from have also increased their price,” Ms Lele said.

She added that it was the same with the price of cassava.

“I’m lucky to buy my cassava from a supplier in Navua who sells it for $50 a bag,” Ms Lele said.

“If I had to buy it from the normal suppliers coming from Naitasiri or Tailevu, the price of a bag would range from $70 to $100.”

She also pointed out that prices were determined by the size of the produce.

Fiji Sun also spoke with Semi Ledua of Vanuabalavu, Lau whose table was dominated by sweet yam and dalo.

“I’m selling each bundle of dalo for $40 but I only get to make $10 profit because I buy each of these bundles at $30,” Mr Ledua said.


In Nadi, market vendor and mid­dleman, Mohammed Hussein said: “I buy the dalo in sack or in bundles. For one sack I buy $120. I priced the dalo according to its siz­es. Some I sell it for $40, $35 or $25.”

Nadi vendor Domeniko Namelo of Navala Village, Ba, said: “The cost of food items have increased likewise we have to increase the dalo price to meet the high price of items and also gain profit. If not it is a big loss to us.

“Now that the price of fuel has gone up and we pay for the fare of transporting our goods to the mar­ket,” he said.

In Lautoka, the price range for a heap of dalo is 60. This used to be $30-$35. As for cassava, a heap costs anywhere between $7-$8 while the sack, depending on the size would cost 60.


In Labasa, three female vendors, who travel long distances from their village, shared similar senti­ments on the increasing cost of liv­ing triggering the increase in root crop prices.

They are Losavati Dralolo of Dreketi, Macuata, Olita Divu, of Batiri, Macuata and Usenia Susu, Saqani, Cakaudrove.

Ms Dralolo said two years ago, one heap of dalo and cassava consisting of five pieces used to be around $2 and $2.50.

“Now it’s $5 a heap,” Mrs Dralolo said.

“We have to sell at a higher price to cover our travelling cost and ac­commodation.”

The 48-year-old mother would stay at a relative place in Labasa and re­turn on Saturday at 5am to sell root crops again.

Ms Divu, 34, said she was selling one bundle of dalo at around $20 which used to be $15.

“In one bundle there are six dalo stems,” Ms Divu said.

“We don’t tag prices according to the festive season; it is based on the current cost of living living.”

Ms Susu was spotted selling one bundle of dalo with eight stems at $25.

“I like to make big bundles for sale as there were some customers who choose to buy at once and cook it for two separate meals like soup and curry,” Ms Susu said.

“I used to sell it for $15 last year but increased the price as I have to pay for market stall fees.”

The 27-year-old mother said she put her own price tag so that she can collect enough money to buy groceries.


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