Higher prices for vegetables drive June inflation
POINT-TO-POINT inflation of 6.3 per cent in June was largely influenced by an over 5 per cent increase in the heavily weighted ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ due to higher prices for vegetables, recent data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) have indicated.
For the review period the All-Jamaica Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 129.5, resulting in an inflation rate of 1.0 per cent for June 2023.
“The main contributing factor to this inflation rate was a 1.3 per cent increase in the index for the heaviest weighted division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’. This was influenced by the 5.3 per cent increase in the index for the class ‘Vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’. This resulted from higher prices for some products, namely: carrot, tomato, lettuce, yam and onions,” Statin said.
The agriculture sector, which saw contractions above 7 per cent last quarter, has been undergoing some strain as adverse weather conditions — mainly drought — continue to negatively impact output, resulting in lower hectares reaped while driving up demand in the face of shortage.
“The supply of most agricultural items continued to be adversely affected by the persistent dry weather conditions, and this resulted in higher prices for products such as carrot, lettuce, tomato and yam. However, there were lower prices for some products such as cabbage, sweet pepper and sweet potato,” Statin further said in its bulletin.
The data showed that while classes such as ‘Cereals and cereal products’ (up 0.4 per cent), ‘Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals’ (up 0.3 per cent) and ‘Milk, other dairy products and eggs’ (up 0.5 per cent) marginally increased, ‘Fruits and nuts’ was the sole class to have recorded a decline of approximately 1 per cent.
“This was due to lower prices for produce such as melon and pineapple,” Statin said.
Minister of Agriculture Floyd Green, who has taken note of the declines in the sector, said that his ministry has been working to mitigate disaster impacts on farmers. He said that prolonged drought carried over from last year, accompanied by occasional bursts of intense rainfall, is a wake-up call that climate change is a harsh reality that is affecting Jamaica, and the agriculture sector in particular.
“Farmers need to engage in smarter practices to lessen the likely consequences of natural disasters while the ministry will also do its part to mitigate these issues,” he said.