Amid reports of an increase in global food prices, some Jamaicans have been complaining that their dollar doesn't quite stretch enough anymore. Vendors and shoppers at Coronation Market gave mixed reviews to the situation yesterday.
Blanche Davis, who said she has been selling for 40 years, noted prices have been fluctuating
"Sometimes it dearer than some. When the price go up, the customer dem bawl, yes, but dem still buy," she said.
Another vendor, Debbie-Ann Byfield, said vendors have had to be creative.
"People just have to buy half pound rather than pound. If dem even want quarter pound, we will sell dem dat."
NOT ALL GLOOMY
Other vendors acknowledged that while some produce like cabbage and carrots were priced a little higher than usual, things were not all gloomy.
But some shoppers like Solomon Watson weren't so upbeat.
"This is the dearest time mi eva see," he said. "Tings I thought were like for $180, mi a see dem fi $220. That's why mi haffi a walk roun' and try find di best deal."
Clover Walton, who was picking up tomatoes at a stall, said consumers had to adjust their spending.
"You used to buy 20 pounds, you buy 10. We haffi put we shoulder to the wheel and adjust," she said.
Walton said parents, especially, had to think about their children first, making sure their fees and learning material are covered.
"We just have to put on a smaller pot. It don't make sense we blame politicians for everything."
Another shopper, 'Birdie', as she preferred to be called, said she now only buys the "necessary items" for her household.
"Is $2,000 mi spend and this is all mi get," she said, lifting two small plastic bags. "One time, mi woulda have more tings and get back change wid da money deh!"
But according to the vendors, there is something else hampering sales.
"Back-to-school shopping just done, enuh. So di school fees dem had to pay, the university fee dem had to pay, so people nuh really have it right now," said Vivieen Newman.
Talk around the market indicated food prices would go up even more in October and November.
"In winter months, prices always go up, especially vegetable items because they don't like the climate," said Abraham Murray.
He said he feared the price of locally grown produce like potatoes might skyrocket due to importation.
But Byfield was confident that vendors will still be able to make sales. "When tings more expensive, a dat time some people buy. Mi not worried. Tings wi soon pick up."