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PORT KLANG, 17 Jan 2017:
Mandarin oranges will cost more – due to a tight supply in the market from lower imports compared to previous years, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said importers were more cautious this year and reduced their orders of the fruit – over fears of a mandarin orange glut as happened last year.
However, he said, the price increase would not be too drastic as each box would cost about RM1 to RM2 more according to the size and grade of the fruit and was still affordable to the people.
Ahmad Shabery said the government had abolished import permits for mandarin oranges since 2015 to increase its import and to ensure cheaper fruits – but it was still up to the importers themselves to decide on volumes.
“Among the causes for the lower import was the effect of the drop in currency value, which resulted in costlier mandarin oranges in the market.
“Other factors which contribute to the price increase include the limited supply from China and higher packaging costs,” he told reporters after viewing the inspection of mandarin oranges imported from China, here today.
So far, he said 35,000 tonnes of mandarin oranges had been brought into the local market and another 12,000 tonnes would be imported next week – compared to 56,000 tonnes last year.
On another development, Ahmad Shabery said the move by local farmers to export high-quality vegetables to a neighbouring country is good as it could promote economic growth, especially in the agricultural sector, apart from stabilising the value of the Malaysian currency.
He said the issue of lower-grade vegetables being sold in the local market should not arise as consumers could make their own choice to buy agricultural produce according to the quality supplied.
“Traders (vegetable suppliers) will seek the more profitable market. If there are markets offering higher prices, then traders will go to these markets…this is part of the market process.
“I believe if local consumers are willing to pay more for higher grades, perhaps the suppliers will also give priority to the local market.”
Yesterday, a local daily reported the Camerons Highlands Farmers Association said more than 20% of high-quality vegetables from there were exported to Singapore daily due to the high demand there.