A cold snap across Asia could see fresh produce prices in Singapore skyrocket, according to media reports.
Imports of certain lines from China, Taiwan, and South Korea are likely to be limited over the coming weeks, as growers in these countries assess the damage to their crops following this week’s cold spell, which continues to make its way south from northern China.
The pinch is already being felt at retail level, with the Straits Times reporting a 10 to 15 per cent rise in South Korean strawberry prices at supermarket chain FairPrice. The wholesale sector is not faring any better, with leak prices doubling compared with the same time last year, according to the report.
“Importers are all panicking that they may not have enough supply to meet the demand of their customers,” Jerry Tan, managing director of wholesaler Hu Lee Impex, told the Straits Times.
Importers are also contending with the impacts of mother nature on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. The price of Californian strawberries has risen sharply over the last 12 months due to an ongoing drought in the US state, prompting some importers to pull out of the trade.
“The cost price was higher than my selling price last year, about a 50 per cent increase. The quality of the produce was not that good either," Desmond Bernavey Lee, director of importer FreshDirect, told the Straits Times.
To cover the gaps in supply, importers are increasingly turning to New Zealand and Australia for strawberries and Malaysia for lettuce.