KUCHING: The prices of fresh fish and vegetables have increased rapidly mainly due to the shortage of supplies caused by the current rainy season.

A fish vendor, Salleh Mustapa, 60, said the prices set by fishermen were already higher than usual, so the fish naturally cost more at the market.

“Now is the monsoon season, so fishermen are not allowed to go out to sea. The maritime authority has given the orders for this season.

“It is hard for them to obtain a big catch due to their limited time at sea. That is the main reason for the price increase,” he said.

Salleh (second right) with his workers.

Salleh explained that sellers like him had to consider their own income when fishermen increased their prices.

“We have to pay our workers, fees and other expenses at the fish market,” he said.

Salleh was confident that the prices would return to normal when the monsoon season is over.

Asri (centre) with two workers, Iqbal (left) and Aiman (right).

Another vendor, Mohd Asri, 27, said, “When fishermen mark up their prices, the increase can sometimes be from RM2 to RM5 for a fish,” he said.

On the comparative prices of fresh fish, both sellers said they could be up from RM10 to RM15 per kg.

A vegetable hawker, Mackenzy Kimliang, 35, also agreed that the increase in prices of vegetables was due to the weather … whether it’s too hot and dry or too rainy.

Mackenzy

“It is a challenge for vegetable growers like us to deal with the two seasons. The monsoon season means most vegetables can’t grow well. Too much rain can kill the plants,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

Mackenzy added the prices can go up from RM5 to RM10 per kg.

“Although only certain types of vegetables sensitive to the two seasons, other can also be affected in terms of yield and prices,” he said.

People still buy vegetables despite knowing they are more expensive.

He too believes that the prices of vegetables would go back to normal after the end of the monsoon season, hopefully after this month.

A fellow seller, Amalia Ahot, 45, also had the same opinion.

“I hope people understand that we don’t mark up the prices for fun. It’s just that we have limited supplies but many customers,” she said.