Ceylon Finance Today: If vegetable prices have fallen sharply due to the prevailing good weather, the same however is not true as far as fish prices are concerned, which have risen sharply from a year ago, thereby possibly delivering a kidney punch in the battle against malnourishment, i.e. if such a battle does exit.
In a sample captured by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), it showed that retail fish prices at the Peliyagoda Fisheries Trade Centre (PFTC) in the year ended Wednesday (16 March, 2016), increased by between 6% and 28% per kilo. In absolute terms this increase worked out from a minimum of Rs 32 to a maximum of Rs 62 per kg.
Sri Lanka, according to UN reports, have a higher incidence of malnourishment than Sub-Saharan Africa, where the latter is ......regarded as one of the poorest regions of the world. Due to religious scruples, a substitute for animal proteins for Sri Lankans is fish. But when fish prices go up, that doesn't help the battle against malnourishment.
There are talks that the EU fishery ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka may be lifted soon. If that happens, that may make fish prices to go up further in the local market. Then, there is that almost perennial issue of Indian fisher poaching in the island's waters. That too may be a contributory factor to higher fish prices.
Meanwhile, the retail price of Kelawella fish in the PFTC in the year ended Wednesday increased by 10.32% (Rs 61.76) to Rs 660 a kg. Kelawella is a type of Tuna, where there is demand in the EU region.
In related developments, the price of Balaya fish (another type of Tuna) in the review period increased by 16.28% (Rs 58.80) to Rs 420 a kg.; that of Salaya by 28.14% (Rs 43.92) to Rs 200 a kg. and that of Paraw (Small)-which also belongs to the Tuna genre where there is demand in the EU market, increased by 5.85% (Rs 32.04) to Rs 580 a kg.
Week on week (WoW), in the week ended Wednesday, the story was almost the same, with the price of Kelawella increasing by 10% (Rs 60) to Rs 660 a kg. and Salaya by 42.86% (Rs 60) to Rs 200 a kg. However, that of Balaya declined by 2.33% (Rs 10) to Rs 420 a kg., while the price of a kg. of Paraw, on a week on week (WoW) basis in the week ended Wednesday, saw its retail price fall by 14.71% (Rs 100) to Rs 580 a kg at the PFTC.
Meanwhile, the price of a kg. of beans in the Pettah Retail Market (PRM) saw a YoY decline as at Wednesday by 39.04% (Rs 76.86) to Rs 120 a kg., cabbage by 15.21% (Rs 17.94) to Rs 100 a kg., carrots by 45.92% (Rs 84.90) to Rs 100 a kg., tomatoes by 52.45% (Rs 66.18) to Rs 60 a kg., snake gourd by 6.16% (Rs 6.57) to Rs 100 a kg., brinjals by 5.38% (Rs 5.69) to Rs 100 a kg. and ash plantains by 27.66% (Rs 30.59) to Rs 80 a kg.
The only 'fly in the ointment' was pumpkins, which saw its YoY retail price increase by 9.68% (Rs 7.06) to Rs 80 a kg. as at
In related developments, on a WoW basis as at Wednesday, beans saw its retail price in the Pettah market decrease by 14.29% (Rs 20) to Rs 120 a kg., carrots by 16.67% (Rs 20) to Rs 100 a kg. and brinjals by 16.67% (Rs 20) to Rs 100 a kg.
However, the price of a kg. of cabbage on a WoW basis increased by 11.11% (Rs 10) to Rs 100 a kg., while those of tomatoes, pumpkins, snake gourd and ash plantains on a WoW basis, stagnated at Rs 60, Rs 80, Rs 100 and Rs 80 a kg. each, respectively.
Sri Lankans' staple diet is rice. In this connection, the price of a kg. of Samba rice on a YoY basis declined by 2.33% (Rs 2.10) to Rs 88 a kg. and that of Red rice by 20.21% (Rs 15.20) to Rs 60 a kg. in the Pettah Retail Market as at Wednesday, CBSL data showed. On a WoW basis, the price of a kg. of Samba fell by 2.22% (Rs 2) to Rs 88 a kg., while that of Red rice stagnated at Rs 60 a kg.
In other developments, the price of a kg. of local red onions in the Pettah Retail Market declined sharply by 33.50% (Rs 45.34) to Rs 90 a kg. on a YoY basis as at Wednesday. The Government, in order to arrest rising food prices, on the eve of last Christmas, cut down the import duties on potatoes and onions, while imposing a maximum retail price (MRP) on red (Indian) dhal at Rs 169 a kg. among other things.
Meanwhile, the price of a kg. of Nuwara-Eliya Potatoes fell by 8.26% (Rs 10.80) to Rs 120 a kg. on a YoY basis. However, that of imported dried chillies, saw its price increase by 20.24% (Rs 58.92) to Rs 350 a kg. in the year ended Wednesday, data showed. Though Sri Lanka is self-sufficient in green chillies, it's not in dried chillies.
In the meantime, the price of a Kg. of Indian dhal on a YoY basis decreased by 4.75% (Rs 8.43) to Rs 169 a kg. in the Pettah Retail Market as at Wednesday, while that of a price of a red egg went up by 21.87% (Rs 3.23) to Rs 18 an egg and that of coconut fell by 5.98% (Rs 3.18) to Rs 50 a nut.
On a WoW basis as at Wednesday, the price of local red onions shot up by 12.5% (Rs 10) to Rs 90 a kg. at the Pettah Retail Market, data showed. However, the price of a kg. of Nuwara-Eliya Potatoes stagnated at Rs 120 a kg. that of Nuwara-Eliya Potatoes at Rs 120 a kg. and dried chillies at Rs 350 a kg., respectively.
However, the price of Indian Dhal, on a WoW basis as at Wednesday, saw its price increase by 5.63% (Rs nine) to Rs 169 a kg., consonant with its MRP, while the price of a red egg and a coconut too shot up sharply by 12.5% (Rs two) and 11.11% (Rs five) each to Rs 18 an egg and Rs 50 a nut, respectively, CBSL data showed. (PGA)