Vegetable production will plummet due to severe tropical storm Eleanor. This is Kreepalloo Sunghoon's opinion. For the secretary of the Small Planters Association, we must import vegetables in the short term and retain part of local production in the long term.

After Belal, it is Eleanor who hits the country. What are the consequences of these climatic disturbances on vegetable production?
Production is already at its lowest. With Eleanor, the harvests expected in the coming days/weeks will decrease. However, it will not be until tomorrow afternoon when the planters have seen it first-hand that they will assess the damage caused by the rains and winds. We will then know which regions are affected.

Production in the country was expected to return to normal around the end of March/beginning of April. But, there will be a lag. Because many planters will be afraid to farm again. They will let February pass and replant in March, so as not to lose their investments.

Vegetable prices are already very high. What should the public expect in the coming days?
Vegetables will become even rarer. With prices already being increased, I don't believe there will be any further price spikes. Consumers will not be able to afford to buy vegetables at such expensive prices.

The ideal is for the government to import vegetables through the Agricultural Marketing Board (AMB). Mauritians will thus be able to have products at reasonable prices.

For consumer associations, there is an abuse in the prices charged. Your comments ?
For the importation of vegetables, there are subsidies that are paid. It is necessary to ensure that the dealers who buy the vegetables imported by the AMB sell them at reasonable prices. When it comes to local production, it's all a question of supply and demand. When supply is less and demand is high, prices rise. As there is no control over vegetable prices, the only solution is production. It must be increased. Prices will then go down automatically. Planning is needed at this level. The authorities must indicate the quantity of vegetables to be produced for the country over given periods. Consumers will suffer less if we move in this direction.

You recommend that the country have refrigerated warehouses to preserve vegetables which are in abundance from May to September in order to deal with this type of situation…
From May to the end of September, production is increasing. The quality is also there. Surplus vegetables should be preserved by refrigerating or processing them. These vegetables can be put on the market from January to March. Cold storage is needed.

Due to bad weather, planters will be cautious and avoid growing vegetables at the start of the year. We will face this problem every year. You might as well prepare for this eventuality.

We must also make consumers aware of the fact that they will not have fresh vegetables all year round.

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