Importer and distributor Turners and Growers Fiji Ltd says all its garlic import from China is on hold and their last shipments were before the coronavirus outbreak. This means there are fears that Fijians could soon start to pay more for their garlic as the impact of COVID 19 grips the world.
New World Supermarket Head of Merchandise Ravish Patel says they also expect their supply to be affected soon: “We have not got any indication from China saying they are going to stop the supply of not only garlic but any other product as of yet, in terms of sourcing garlic from anywhere else outside of China, we don’t know. We do go to New Zealand and Australia, the prices will go through the roof and I don’t know if the affordability will be there or not.”
Patel says turning to other markets is an option but fear of government shutdown is a problem as some of these suppliers have also reported cases of COVID19: “It’s not only the cost attached to this product, it’s a better product from Australia and New Zealand, but look there is Coronavirus in Australia and New Zealand as well, so we don’t even know if that will be a safe supply chain.”
Minister for Trade Premila Kumar has given some reassurance that the government has not put any restriction on imports from China. Kumar says there has been a hike in garlic prices globally because of supply disruptions in China in the wake of COVID-19.