Soaring chilli prices leave consumers fuming

Fresh red pepper price soars

(TheStar Online) Many customers here are seeing red over the rising prices of fresh red chillies. “We cannot do anything,” said vegetable seller Yu Wee Wen, 45. “We are forced to buy the chillies from Thailand at a higher price.” Currently, red chillies are being sold for as high as RM17 (USD5.4) per kilo while cili padi is RM14 (USD4.4) per kilo. Previously, red chillies were priced at RM6 (USD1.9) per kilo and cili padi, RM5 (USD1.6) per kilo. Another vegetable seller at Kipmart Tampoi here, Badi Hassan Mohammad, said some customers would storm off without buying anything. “Only when they realise that chillies are expensive everywhere else then would they come back to me,” said the 27-year-old. Another seller at the Larkin market, Rusdi Abu Bakar, 40, said the last time that the price of chillies soared was when there was political turmoil in Thailand. He said they also imported other vegetables such as tomatoes and long beans from Thailand, but the prices for these items remained the same. Johor Bumiputra Consumer Association deputy president Abdul Majid Kayat said consumers should understand the reason behind the high price of chillies. Vegetable sellers also said that they had noticed an increase in buyers from Singapore in the last two weeks. Rusdi Abu Bakar at the Larkin market said although he had customers from Singapore previously, their number had increased of late. “The prices here are much lower than in Singapore and frankly, we are not complaining,” he said. The highest price of red chillies recorded in the past week was at the SS15 market in Subang Jaya – RM24 (7.6USD) per kilo on the first week of November.