Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon is calling on local consumers to use their purchasing power wisely when shopping.
While the cost of some commodities has been trending downwards in parts of the world, here in Trinidad and Tobago, the cost of food in the markets and supermarkets is considerably high.
Gopee-Scoon made the statements during an interview on I95.5 FM on Tuesday morning.
She said, “We’ve noticed and we’ve looked at particular indices. And for oil and sugar, cereals, meat, and so on, we’ve noticed that they’ve been coming down.”
“Now I don’t expect an immediate reduction in price at all, and naturally there are global issues which are still affecting global food prices and availability.”
The FAO Food Price Index recorded reductions in food prices, however, it noted that for 2022 as a whole the average was 143.7 points – up by 18 points or 14.3 per cent from the price index for 2021.
The index said cereal prices have gone down 2.9 points or 1.9 per cent from November, but was 6.8 points (4.8 per cent) higher than last year. Vegetable oils were reduced to its lowest level since February 2021 with an average of 144.4 points, down 10.3 points or 6.7 per cent from last year. Dairy prices went up by 1.5 points (1.1 per cent) to an average of 139.1 points.
Locally, the Central Statistical Office’s retail price index shows food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased from 144.5 price points in October to 145.9 in November. The increase in price points reflected an increase in price by one per cent.
“Contributing significantly to this increase was the general upward movement in the prices of chilled or frozen beef; fresh beef; chilled or frozen pork; melongene; carrots; cucumber; pumpkin; onions; green (sweet) pepper and cabbage.”
The CSO said the full impact of the price increases were offset by general decreases in the prices of tomatoes, ochroes, full cream powdered milk, oranges, fresh steak, fresh shrimp, salted pig tail, Irish potatoes and fresh crab.
The all items index pointed out a 0.2 increase in prices overall.
Gopee-Scoon said: “It’s a choice you make, because you have the power to make the choice as to what to buy.”