Mandarins slow to appear in Malaysia for Chinese New Year

Mandarins are an essential festive item for the Chinese New Year; but shoppers in Sibu, Malaysia, are noticing a shortage of the fruit. This is contributed to vendors being reluctant to buy the fruits from importers for fear of slow demand, caused by the reduced purchasing power of the population.

Mandarin orange importer Yeo Keng Teck said: “The first shipment of the Chinese oranges arrived last week. Another shipment is coming this week, and when the Chinese New Year festival nears, the third shipment will arrive. But fruit vendors are reluctant to take orders now.”

He said there were four mandarin orange importers in Sibu, with some supermarkets importing for their own business.

He said the citrus fruits used to be shipped from China at almost the same time every year to meet the festive demand and by this time, they would have started receiving orders from fruit vendors. But the vendors are worried that the fruit will be left to sit and rot on their stalls.

Another reason for the low demand, he believed, is the habit of festive shoppers rushing to buy things at the eleventh hour.

Nevertheless, Yeo hoped that by the end of this month demand for mandarin oranges would pick up.

Yeo said customers need not worry about prices of mandarin oranges this year because there was abundant supply unlike last year when the stock was limited due to low production in China which caused prices to go up.

Yeo believed that although imported goods were dearer this year because of the falling value of the Malaysian currency, mandarin oranges would not cost more as their prices were globally low.

“Prices are almost the same as last year’s. Maybe there is a difference of 50 sen to RM1 per box when compared to last year’s.”

A check with the vendors and suppliers showed the golden citrus fruits cost between RM16 and RM45, depending on size and packaging.

(1 Malaysian Ringgit equals 0.23 US Dollar)


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