S'pore veg buyers not likely to pay dearly for Cameron floods

Exceptionally wet weather in Cameron Highlands has driven up wholesale prices of vegetables from Malaysia by about 10 per cent this week, but most retailers in Singapore are not raising their prices - for now.

This month, heavy rain in Cameron Highlands caused flash floods which damaged some farms and crops.

About 44 per cent of Singapore's vegetable supply came from Malaysia last year, according to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

Of that amount, Cameron Highlands supplied about 10 per cent, including tomatoes and leafy vegetables such as spinach, said the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association.

"There are a lot of farms in Cameron Highlands and only some of them were affected (by the floods)," said association treasurer Vincent Li. "Supply from Cameron Highlands fell by about 20 per cent this week, but wholesale prices for Malaysian imports are likely to return to normal next week, as suppliers have received produce from other sources such as China."

An AVA spokesman said that currently, the supply of vegetables from Malaysia is stable.

Supermarket chains such as FairPrice and Sheng Siong said there has been no significant rise in the prices of vegetables from Malaysia recently. A FairPrice spokesman said it will monitor the situation closely.

At Prime Supermarket, the prices of some vegetables from Malaysia have risen by between 10 and 20 per cent. It gets about one-fifth of its greens from Malaysia, including sweet corn, capsicum and romaine lettuce from Cameron Highlands.

A check with vegetable stalls at some Singapore wet markets found that most have kept prices of Cameron Highlands produce stable. Only a couple have raised prices - by between 20 and 30 per cent - this week. French beans at a Toa Payoh stall sold for about $5 per kg, up from about $4 per kg a few weeks ago.

Civil servant Joan Wu, 26, is glad that prices are stable for now, but she would not be too worried even if vegetables were to cost slightly more.

This article was first published on November 14, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.