KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Prices of vegetables from Cameron Highlands rose up to 40 per cent since yesterday, after the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) was enforced in several areas there, Sinar Harian reported.
Other types of vegetables expected to see price increases include tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, chillies, cabbages, beans, sweet peppers and all types of salad leaves.
Sinar Harian reported that the increase was due to an immediate halt to production, as 12,000 local and foreign workers there were not allowed to leave home for work under the EMCO
According to Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Growers Associations secretary-general Chay Ee Mong, supply will be affected as Cameron Highlands produces 565 metric tonnes of vegetables daily.
“All the prices of vegetables in Cameron Highlands are up because the remaining supply of vegetables is less than 40 per cent. So the rest will definitely be offered at a high price.
“Today (Monday) we should be able to see the effects of the price increase in the market. It is expected that this afternoon (Monday), the vegetables will reach the wholesale market. Because after this consignment is sold, only then the farmers are paid. Only then we will know whether there is a price hike or not, but surely the prices will hike as vegetable supply is lower,” Chan was reported saying.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Saturday that several areas in the famous highland would fall under the EMCO starting yesterday.
These include Kampung Raja (Sungai Ikan), Blue Valley, Sun Park, Corina Village Park and the Kampung Raja New Village.
As a result, the report said that an estimated 65 per cent of vegetable farm operators in Cameron Highlands were affected.
Chan told the Malay-language daily that the Cameron Highlands produce was not only for the local market but would also be sent to Singapore.
“Usually some are sent to the Singapore wholesale market. For the local market, supply will be sent to the Kuala Lumpur Wholesale Market. Then half of the supply will be distributed to several supermarkets in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. Apart from that, a small amount would also be sent to Ipoh,” he said.
According to him, agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, vegetable packaging and other farming essentials have also experienced price hikes.
Chan also lamented about the lack of workers to manage the farms, adding that drivers, packers and clerks were unable to work, calling on the government to allow those in the sector to resume operations, on the condition that the National Security Council (NSC) conducts the Antigen Rapid Test (RTK-Ag) on all farm workers.
“All cannot enter. This is the problem. Who is going to manage the farms? If the government can allow half of them to work, or 60 per cent of the workers for example, that is reasonable already but now, no one can (work).
“Not asking the government to give leeway on the standard operating procedures (SOPs), but there should be a win-win solution so that the farmers don’t ‘perish’ and consumers meanwhile, do not face reduction in food supply,” he added.