Recent severe weather conditions, along with challenges from the pandemic, have caused vegetable prices across Jamaica to rise by an average 50 per cent in the last week.
Xavier Charvis, marketing officer at Rural Agricultural Development Authority, RADA, is advising consumers to brace for further increases in the price of both fruits and vegetables in the upcoming festive season.
The largest price increases were seen among vegetables, such as cabbage, romaine lettuce, sweet pepper, pak choi and string beans, according to data from the Jamaica Agricultural Market Information Systems, or JAMIS. Conversely, prices of most fruits trended downward over the week ending November 21, including watermelon, cantaloupe, sorrel and papaya.
The magnitude of the increases that prevailed in mid-November was in the order of 20 to 80 per cent. Local green cabbage went up 80%, Romaine lettuce went up 53.3%. Then there were Pak Choi (+60%), string beans (+56%), sweet pepper (+66%), tomatoes (+25%), carrots (+31.7%), watermelon (+57%).
Pumpkins went down 40% and green bananas stayed at the same price levels.
Vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, okra and pumpkin were the only goods that recorded a decline in the prices over the week in review. The sharpest declines came from pumpkin, down 40 per cent