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Food Basket: ‘De NARA’ Food Company blames farmers amid rise in local food prices

Food Basket: ‘De NARA’ Food Company blames farmers amid rise in local food prices

DILI, 18 june 2022 (TATOLI) – The Local Food Company De Nara blamed farmers for raising the prices of the local food amid the distribution of the second phase of the Government’s Cesta Basic Program.

The Executive Director of the De NARA, Maria Teresa De Sá said during the implementation of the Cesta Basic Program, the farmers tended to increase the prices of the local food as there were still no set prices for the local food.

“The inflation caused the rise in local food prices. Because we don’t have the set prices for the local food making it hard for the government to properly control the price of the local food in the country,” De Sá told TATOLI at his office in Aimutin, on saturday.

She said: “Currently, we don’t have a decree-law on the fair price of the local food. So, farmers tended to make up prices. But there is a decree-law for the implementation of the Foods Basket Program.”

A number of contracted companies have been complaining about the high prices of the local food made up by the farmers. The rise in local food prices affected the quantity of food distribution to the communities.

She said, therefore, the Government of Timor-Leste needed to set up the prices for all local food items to prevent further manipulation in local food prices.

She acknowledged that due to the insufficient availability of local food, therefore, the companies also included a number of imported food items in the Food Basket Program.

“As a food distributor company, we need to ensure the safety of the food. Thus, it’s important to ensure adequate packaging and storage process. All stock must be stored in a food warehouse. Meanwhile, vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish should be stored in refrigerators,” De Sá said.

De NARA spent around US$120.000 on purchasing the local food products. Due to insufficient availability of the local food in Timor-Leste, forcing the company to include a number of imported food items in its distribution list, including local red beans, soybeans, and green beans.

“In our warehouse, we have 100 tons of red beans, 100 tons of rice, 30 tons of soybeans, 30 tons of green beans, 10m tons of peanut, and 50 tons of corn,” she concluded.

She said imported foods are cheaper than local ones. For example, 1 kg of imported corn costs US$0.25 compared to US$0.30 per kg of local corn. While the price of imported red beans costs US$ 1.95 per kg cheaper than the locally produced one, which is US$ 2.25 per kg. Also, 800 grams of imported chicken costs only $3.00 compared to $10.00 for local chicken.

Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia Borges

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