The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned with the exorbitant local vegetable prices in municipal markets around the country. As a result of the complaints, a survey was conducted that found prices for produce had increased enormously.

The Council has analyzed the price of some local produce
sold during this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic crisis as per table
below:

No.  Name
of Vegetable
Prices
increased by:
1 Jackfruit 25%
2 Long Bean 44%
3 Cowpea 100%
4 Cassava 54%
5 Dalo 250%
6 Eggplant 150%

7 Pumpkin 25%
8 English Cabbage 100%
(Source: Primary Study – Consumer Council of Fiji, 2020)

It is also concerning to see that whilst the prices have increased, the quantity has subsequently declined. For example, a plate of three, locally grown eggplants are now sold for $3.00, which means $1 for each eggplant. Previously, for the same price a consumer could have purchased double the quantity of what is sold nowadays.

The Council is urging farmers, middleman and market vendors not to take advantage of this crisis to deceive consumers and profiteer. Chief Executive Officer Ms. Seema Shandil said “while we are advocating Fijians to consume local produce, this sudden increase in prices leaves consumers with no choice but to be compelled in purchasing processed food, which is an unhealthy choice”.

Ms. Shandil further stated that during such crisis everyone should be supporting each other to ensure access to nutritional food at an affordable prices.

Consumers are urged to report to the Council via National Consumer Helpline toll-free line on 155 or email complaints@consumersfiji.org, should they encounter any unethical practices during COVID-19.

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