Friend of mine bought a tomato for RM1.20 at the Tanjung Bunga market.
Now you would think a RM1.20 tomato would have to be pretty special.
No, this was just a little tomato, not even big and juicy.
Unlike ordinary tomatoes that would rot in a few days if left in the open, this one could keep for a while. Makes you wonder.
If a tomato could cost RM1.20, imagine the prices of other fruit and vegetables. The question is, how are the lower-income group coping? As food prices soar, as real wages remain stagnant and as overtime pay is slashed, many among the working class are struggling to put food on the table for their families – while some of our leaders squander our nation’s resources and their spouses go on shopping sprees abroad.
Back in school, we were taught that the three essentials of life are food, shelter and clothing. Let’s focus on item one on the list. While we have grand NKRAs and common frameworks, what are we doing about the price of vegetables?
In the name of (misguided) “development”, we have lost the vegetable farms in our towns. Now, we have to bring in vegetables from farther away – Cameron Highlands, China, Australia and elsewhere – some of them perhaps genetically modified or laced with pesticides and preservatives, who knows.
This is not only bad news for food self-sufficiency and sustainability and security, but the loss of food security also makes us vulnerable to the global food crisis. Worse, the transportation of food from great distances to our dining tables is a major contributor to global emissions.
What could be done: open up unused or idle state land, now filled with undergrowth, and make that available for sustainable organic or permaculture farming. Encourage and support small farmers. Urge households not to cement their lawns and instead grow some food in their gardens or even in their apartment common spaces, corridors and balconies.
Every bit helps. Remember, we can’t eat microchips.
Blog reader My Blog adds:
Anil, I also go to the Tanjung Bungah market. Earlier red chilies use to cost RM5 per kilo when the supply was less, last week it was RM10 per kilo, week before last RM12 per kilo. All vegetables have drastically gone up in price. I talk to the vegetable seller, he just smiles and says ‘apa boleh bikin, semua sudah mahal’, not even saying it is expensive because of rains etc which means temporary.
High cost of living is here to stay, even if gormen change, the damage is already done. Tomato not so expensive lah, if I am not wrong about RM5 or 6 per kilo. You can buy for use today or a bit less ripe which you can use for several days, if put in the fridge can last 1-2 weeks.
Fruits, again even banana and papaya also expensive, I bought a large bunch of banana and 1 medium size papaya already cost me about RM12 and I wanted a watermelon, when I heard the price, I told him it is okay, can do without.
It is bad times for me like many others, so even few dollars makes the difference. If the gormen keeps up with its badly thought out policies, I envisage it getting worse. If they offer me land, I will start a vegetable farm…