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An increase in the price of rice should have happened some time ago

An increase in the price of rice should have happened some time ago

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Marketing Manager of the East Caribbean Group of Companies Martin LaBorde is reassuring Vincentians that there is no real rice shortage here.{{more}}

His reassurance comes following the removal, this week, of rice from the shelves of some local supermarkets, including the government owned supermarket NP Food City, and the rationing of the commodity. Consumers wishing to purchase rice are only being allowed five pounds at any one time.

Laborde told Searchlight on Wednesday that an increase in the price of rice should have happened some time ago, but bagged rice is a price controlled item.

So far the price of rice has remained at one dollar a pound.

“We are managing supplies for the month of May because of the increased regional demand for the product.

“We had to ensure that we had supplies for our local market as well as our regional customers.”

Laborde indicated that supply is expected to be replenished at the end of the month.

He pointed out that the increase in the price of rice on the international market (from US $500 to $1200 per tonne), plus the destruction of Burma (a key grower of rice) by a cyclone one week ago are reasons for the spike in the demand worldwide.

Many persons see rationing continuing without any change in the near future.

The marketing manager, like many others, is of the view that Vincentians should produce more of what they consume. “There is a need for us to diversify produce more for our own security and not for the market…The price of local produce is alarming,” he added.

Many of the local ‘alternatives’ cost much more than the basics (rice, flour, chicken and beans etc) when purchased in the market.

One person, an executive of a major supermarket here, explained: “For example, the price of one pound of rice and a pound of chicken is still cheaper than one breadfruit or even some provision. So unless the price of provision goes down, people will continue to purchase the price-increased rice and flour.”

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