PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Excessive rain over the past few months has affected domestic vegetable production, pushing up prices by as much as 100 per cent.
The production in Cameron Highlands - the nation's largest vegetable producer - has dropped by 20 per cent, said Malaysian Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong.
The frequent rain has made it difficult for farmers in Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang and Kampung Raja to plant vegetables.
Vegetable farms most affected by the weather and other contributing factors are the ones growing cabbage, lettuce, leek, red chilli, lotus roots, Chinese parsley, spring onion and coriander.
This has resulted in their prices increasing by between 30 per cent and 100 per cent.
The highest vegetable price increase is registered in Penang where the price of spring onion has more than doubled from RM4 (S$1.68) per kilo to RM9 per kilo.
Chay said other factors influencing the price increase were shortage of foreign labour and frequent natural disasters in vegetable supplying countries.
He said the supply of vegetables also depends on foreign imports and with China hit by floods recently, price increase could not be avoided.
"The bad weather is also compounded by the shortage of workers. There are not many foreign workers in the agriculture sector because they generally do not want to work in farms," he said.
He said the situation was expected to improve later this month as the weather improved.
In Penang, checks at the Bayan Baru, Batu Lanchang and Cecil Street markets showed that the price of Chinese parsley has increased from RM6 per kilo last week to RM10 per kilo, spring onion from RM4 per kilo to RM9 per kilo and coriander from RM7 per kilo to RM10 per kilo.
Lim Kooi Seng, a vegetable dealer at the Batu Lancang market, said he would normally sell 30kg of Chinese parsley, spring onion and coriander per day but due to short supply he could only get less than 10kg daily now.
He also said that the price of lotus root, cabbage and romaine lettuce from China had shot up.
"Previously, lotus root was RM8 per kilo.
"Now it's RM13 per kilo and the price of romaine lettuce has doubled to RM4 per kilo."
-- The Star/Asia News Network