Vegetable, fruit prices reasonable at city municipal markets

Even as farmers and urban traders endure what they say is currently a retailers’ market for fresh fruit and vegetables, shoppers are taking advantage of what, earlier this week, appeared to be significantly reduced prices for fruit and vegetables.

Shoppers who understand the cyclical nature of the volume of fresh fruit and vegetables

Trading in fruit and vegetables on Merriman’s Mall this week.
Trading in fruit and vegetables on Merriman’s Mall this week.

at the city’s municipal markets were this week ‘stocking up’ on those commodities fully aware that the proverbial “good times” will not last forever.

At Bourda Market’s Merriman’s Mall where prices have reportedly remained steady for more than two weeks, shoppers have been helping themselves to wiri wiri pepper at prices as low as $60 per pint, a function of a glut which has reportedly led to considerable spoilage on some farms on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. Up to last Wednesday, boulangers were being offered to retailers at $2,000 per bag. They in turn, were offering consumers as many as seven for $100. When this newspaper visited the market two days ago there was evidence of ‘bulk buying.’ Persons could be seen purchasing up to $500 worth of boulangers. One vendor told this newspaper that shoppers know only too well that wholesale prices would eventually find their way back to levels of around $5,000 per bag.

Boulangers apart, bora, ochro, pumpkin, ‘thick leaf’ calaloo and pak choy all appeared to be ‘in season’ and being retailed at prices that encouraged brisk trading. On Wednesday shoppers could purchase ochro at ‘bargain’ prices of two pounds for $100. Pumpkin, meanwhile, was being traded at between $35 and $40 per pound, rates that converted into a generous slice of the fruit for $100 at the retail end. One vendor told Stabroek Business that pumpkins were still very much in abundance on several farms close to the city. She expected that retail prices would therefore remain stable “for at least another few weeks.”

While retail prices for fruit and vegetables have been holding reasonably steady in recent weeks there was no evidence of what, sometimes, are the ‘giveaway’ retail prices for calaloo. This week, shoppers appeared to have settled for acquiring two bundles (with about four stems each) for $100 and pak choy at $100. They were, however, taking advantage of other offerings that included eddo leaves being retailed at $200 per black plastic bag.

20130705pricesLeroy, a Stabroek Market vendor, informed that the practice of cutting up the eddo leaf and offering it in plastic bags had been “invented” by a young woman from the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. That particular presentation has become popular with consumers.

Carilla (Bitter Gourd), meanwhile, was being retailed at around $80 per pound, the lowest price that had been on offer for several weeks.

Except in seasons of considerable glut, retail prices for cabbage remain reasonably high. This week, the vegetable was being traded at retail stands at prices that varied between $200 and $300 per pound. Tomato prices are still to go as low as they can. This week retail asking price was $200 per pound while consumers of squash were buying at $200 per pound.

Two days ago vendors in both of the city’s municipal markets were telling Stabroek Business that ground provision prices have been fairly constant over the past three weeks. When we visited the markets eddo was being traded at one and a half pounds for $100 and sweet potato at $50 per pound. Plantains, however, usually associated with ground provisions and with the popular local dish metemgee were being retailed at what some consumers considered a prohibitive retail price of $80 per pound.

At Merriman’s Mall, close to Bourda Market, fruit prices appeared less encouraging to consumers. Sweet fig banana was being retailed at $160 per pound; cashews at 6 for $100 and mangoes, the price of which has now gone through the proverbial roof at 6 for $500. At 4 for $200 the price of oranges had improved from the $100 each at which the fruit was being traded last week.

On Wednesday there was much evidence of watermelon and farmers were offering a wholesale price of $100 per pound. On Wednesday too, papaw, which has been in evidence in abundance for several weeks was being retailed at $300 per sizeable fruit.

Avocado – never the cheapest of fruit at the best of times – could be bought at $300 to $500, while Mamee, a fruit that has remained consistently popular with consumers was being retailed $300 each.

Last week, some vendors were complaining that over time demand for some fruit and vegetables has been in decline. Amar, an East Coast Demerara vendor who trades on Merriman’s Mall told Stabroek Business that, whereas, four to five years ago he would sell ten baskets of oranges in a single day, these days, he brings between two to three baskets of the fruit to market and after four days there are oranges left to throw away.

Debra, a Bare Root vendor who has been selling at the Merriman’s Mall for the past 20 years, no longer sells the 30 baskets of mangoes which, hitherto, she often disposed of in less than a day.

Ravin, another vendor who hails from Parika, explains the reduced demand by suggesting that people now have less disposable income. That apart, he points out that, increasingly, fresh fruit can be found in supermarkets in coastal Guyana.Even as farmers and urban traders endure what they say is currently a retailers’ market for fresh fruit and vegetables, shoppers are taking advantage of what, earlier this week, appeared to be significantly reduced prices for fruit and vegetables.

Shoppers who understand the cyclical nature of the volume of fresh fruit and vegetables at the city’s municipal markets were this week ‘stocking up’ on those commodities fully aware that the proverbial “good times” will not last forever.

At Bourda Market’s Merriman’s Mall where prices have reportedly remained steady for more than two weeks, shoppers have been helping themselves to wiri wiri pepper at prices as low as $60 per pint, a function of a glut which has reportedly led to considerable spoilage on some farms on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. Up to last Wednesday, boulangers were being offered to retailers at $2,000 per bag. They in turn, were offering consumers as many as seven for $100. When this newspaper visited the market two days ago there was evidence of ‘bulk buying.’ Persons could be seen purchasing up to $500 worth of boulangers. One vendor told this newspaper that shoppers know only too well that wholesale prices would eventually find their way back to levels of around $5,000 per bag.

Boulangers apart, bora, ochro, pumpkin, ‘thick leaf’ calaloo and pak choy all appeared to be ‘in season’ and being retailed at prices that encouraged brisk trading. On Wednesday shoppers could purchase ochro at ‘bargain’ prices of two pounds for $100. Pumpkin, meanwhile, was being traded at between $35 and $40 per pound, rates that converted into a generous slice of the fruit for $100 at the retail end. One vendor told Stabroek Business that pumpkins were still very much in abundance on several farms close to the city. She expected that retail prices would therefore remain stable “for at least another few weeks.”

While retail prices for fruit and vegetables have been holding reasonably steady in recent weeks there was no evidence of what, sometimes, are the ‘giveaway’ retail prices for calaloo. This week, shoppers appeared to have settled for acquiring two bundles (with about four stems each) for $100 and pak choy at $100. They were, however, taking advantage of other offerings that included eddo leaves being retailed at $200 per black plastic bag.

Leroy, a Stabroek Market vendor, informed that the practice of cutting up the eddo leaf and offering it in plastic bags had been “invented” by a young woman from the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. That particular presentation has become popular with consumers.

Carilla (Bitter Gourd), meanwhile, was being retailed at around $80 per pound, the lowest price that had been on offer for several weeks.

Except in seasons of considerable glut, retail prices for cabbage remain reasonably high. This week, the vegetable was being traded at retail stands at prices that varied between $200 and $300 per pound. Tomato prices are still to go as low as they can. This week retail asking price was $200 per pound while consumers of squash were buying at $200 per pound.

Two days ago vendors in both of the city’s municipal markets were telling Stabroek Business that ground provision prices have been fairly constant over the past three weeks. When we visited the markets eddo was being traded at one and a half pounds for $100 and sweet potato at $50 per pound. Plantains, however, usually associated with ground provisions and with the popular local dish metemgee were being retailed at what some consumers considered a prohibitive retail price of $80 per pound.

At Merriman’s Mall, close to Bourda Market, fruit prices appeared less encouraging to consumers. Sweet fig banana was being retailed at $160 per pound; cashews at 6 for $100 and mangoes, the price of which has now gone through the proverbial roof at 6 for $500. At 4 for $200 the price of oranges had improved from the $100 each at which the fruit was being traded last week.

On Wednesday there was much evidence of watermelon and farmers were offering a wholesale price of $100 per pound. On Wednesday too, papaw, which has been in evidence in abundance for several weeks was being retailed at $300 per sizeable fruit.

Avocado – never the cheapest of fruit at the best of times – could be bought at $300 to $500, while Mamee, a fruit that has remained consistently popular with consumers was being retailed $300 each.

Last week, some vendors were complaining that over time demand for some fruit and vegetables has been in decline. Amar, an East Coast Demerara vendor who trades on Merriman’s Mall told Stabroek Business that, whereas, four to five years ago he would sell ten baskets of oranges in a single day, these days, he brings between two to three baskets of the fruit to market and after four days there are oranges left to throw away.

Debra, a Bare Root vendor who has been selling at the Merriman’s Mall for the past 20 years, no longer sells the 30 baskets of mangoes which, hitherto, she often disposed of in less than a day.

Ravin, another vendor who hails from Parika, explains the reduced demand by suggesting that people now have less disposable income. That apart, he points out that, increasingly, fresh fruit can be found in supermarkets in coastal Guyana.

*Prices only represent the average Wholesale Farmgate and Retail Prices at the above mentioned markets and are NOT prices set by the Guyana Marketing Corporation or Ministry of Agriculture.

The New Guyana Marketing Corporation has agreed to provide us with the above information which we will publish on a weekly basis subject to receipt.

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