KOTA SAMARAHAN: The demand for vegetables has not been adversely affected despite the significant increase in their prices due to the current monsoon season.
According to vegetable trader James Jana who vends at the Bandar Riyal wet market here, the current prices of vegetables that range between RM4 and RM6 per kilo as compared to only RM1 or RM2 per kilo (during normal season) do not deter customers from buying them.
“They are still buying their favourite vegetables at my stall as usual regardless of the price increase,” James said.
He said vegetables such as sawi pahit (Indian mustard), sawi manis (sweet leaf mustard), kailan (Chinese kale) and lime are among the agricultural products that have increased in prices.
“Most of my customers buy vegetables in large quantities as they are busy working on normal days.
“Apart from buying vegetables such as ginger, cucumber, bunga kantan (torch ginger) and tepus (wild ginger), my customers also often buy bamboo to use for cooking lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) or pansuh (chicken cooked in bamboo),” said James, adding that his income also doubled every weekend compared to normal days.
Further elaborating, the 54-year-old said that because he had bought all the vegetables from the wholesalers, he also had to sell to the customers according to the price supplied by them.
“I will not increase the prices of vegetables arbitrarily — all prices depend on the price sold by the wholesalers,” he pointed out.
Along with the current development, James stated that he now used WhatsApp or phone calls to order vegetables from wholesalers.
In fact, James, who has been selling vegetables for almost 12 years, explained that he also provide Sarawak Pay barcode for the convenience of customers to pay online, and so far, he received payments through this application every day.
On another note, to prevent Covid-19 infection from spreading further, James advised all traders and customers to continue strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as adopting the new norm practises.
Meanwhile, during a survey conducted by New Sarawak Tribune at the wet market on Feb 7, most of the vegetable stalls were enjoying brisk business as they were constantly thronged by customers. This is a common sight, especially on weekends, said a vendor who preferred anonymity.