Rise in food prices worry consumers

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Customers standing outside a supermarket in Valelevu. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

People are paying more for basic food items than what they were paying earlier this year.

The Fiji Times caught up with avid shoppers Maureen Narayan and Ned Gacevi as they were doing last-minute shopping to stock up on food and essentials before the Suva-Nausori lockdown which began on Friday.

Ms Narayan said some items such as potatoes, onions and garlic were the most obvious and had the steepest increase.

“In some places potatoes and onions are being sold for about $3 per kg, others about $2.60 and $2.10 is the lowest,” she said.

“Before this it was about $1.50 per kg for potatoes and onions were about $1.20 per kg and 95 cents when on special.

“Packs of garlic used to go for $1.50 and are nearly $2 a pack now.”

She said for the average shopper the increases, however small they may seem, added up and after a few shopping trips marked a significant increase in food spending.

“A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and need to budget every cent they spend.

“With reduced hours and wages it becomes harder to provide for families.”

She said most tinned goods and biscuits were steady or had increased by 10 to 20 cents.

Mr Gacevi said produce prices at the market were astronomical.

“Bananas can set you back $15 a bunch, or you can buy rotten ones for $3 a heap,” he said.

“Heaps of cassava that once cost $5 are now selling for $10.

“For other things like tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots, the quantity is the same but the prices have doubled.”

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