Price of produce in Praia central market skyrockets 11 June 2012
The price of vegetables and fruits at the central market in Praia’s Plateau district has risen exponentially. Tomatoes appear to have seen the most significant price hike, being sold for as much as 280 escudos per kilogram. But cabbage, squash, bell peppers and carrots – all staples of the typical Praia market basket – have also followed the trend, which is expected to continue over the next several months.
A kilo of tomatoes, which just a few months ago cost approximately 100 escudos, is now being sold for between 220 and 280 escudos – an increase of more than 100%, justified by the drop in production during the hot dry season, as well as by the pests that have attacked crops in the Santiago island countryside. Meanwhile, cabbage, which was being sold for as little as 50 escudos per kilo, now oscillates between 120 and 160 escudos. Bell peppers cost as much as 200 escudos a kilo, squash 240, carrots and cucumbers 160 and lettuce a whopping 300.
Cândida Cardoso of the Órgãos (Santiago) delegation of the Ministry of Rural Development explained that, after the month of May, the season is no longer favorable for the production of tomatoes and other vegetables, which need cooler weather to grow. Also according to Cardoso, the lower production levels have nothing to do with pests.
Cardoso also expressed exasperation at the fact that farmers are “forcing” crops during non-conducive periods of the year. As such, in addition to the losses, the products do not demonstrate optimum quality, which leads many people to erroneously conclude that pests have attacked the crops. The Ministry of Rural Development delegate notes that prices are expected to increase further in the coming months, and should only go back down with increases in production in October or November.
The news is not all bad, however. The Praia central market features other less expensive items for those shopping for their next meal: manioc and onions are at 80 escudos per kilo, potatoes at 120, green bananas at between 60 and 100 escudos, garlic at 350 (down from 450) and dried beans at 120.