Malaysian strawberry farmers here have been forced to sell their produce with discounts of up to 70% as sales have dropped since the start of the second movement control order (MCO). Instead of the usual price of RM30 to RM35 per kilo, the strawberries now sell at RM10 to RM12 a kilo, with smaller berries used for juice-making being sold at RM8/kilo for those buying in larger quantities.
This was revealed by Cameron Highlands’ Vegetable Farmers Organisation president Chai Kok Lim, who said farmers have cut prices as they would rather suffer a “small loss” than not sell anything at all. He said the strawberries on sale now are the cream of the crop, as those harvested between January and March are the sweetest, compared with the year-end crop which was less sweet.
According to Chai, each farmer can harvest one tonne of strawberries per acre from January to March compared with 500kg from October to December. He said with no demand and the difficulty of selling the strawberries online, the bumper crops remain unsold.
Chai said medium- and large-sized strawberries are sold to the masses, while the smaller ones are processed as dry fruits and ice cream. According to Chai, there are 50 strawberry farmers on the highlands, with 30 of them in Brinchang and Kea Farm, as the area’s temperament was more suited for the strawberries, while the others are in Tanah Rata.
Traders at Sibu central market also face income loss
The implementation of the movement control order (MCO) in Sibu has also affected various quarters in this division including hawkers and traders at the Sibu Central Market. The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has ordered the market to operate with limited capacity in line with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) and traders have been directed to operate on alternate days.
SMC’s market and petty traders standing committee chairman, Albert Tiang, said the council has no other options but to close the market on security factors although it realised that the decision could affect the traders’ income.
[ RM1 = €0.21 ]
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