The Jakarta Post
Red bird’s-eye chili prices reached Rp 200,000 (US$15) per kilogram in Cianjur, West Java, on Tuesday as the government speculates cartel-like practices in the distribution of the commodity.
The traders said they did not know why chili prices had skyrocketed.
“We do not know why chilies are so expensive. I heard the price from farmers is below Rp 50, 000,” said Hendi, a chili trader at the Cianjur wholesale market on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.
(Read also: Chili price reaches Rp 140,000 per kg in Jakarta)
Residents were equally surprised about the jump in chili prices. Gina, a local, said some of her neighbors were opting to use instant ingredients that were cheaper than chilies.
Hendi said the price of bird-eye chilies ranged between Rp 140,000 to Rp 180,000 in the last few days because of the limited supply, while the price of green bird's-eye chilies was only at about Rp 50,000.
Meanwhile, head of the Cianjur Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Agency, Hilman Haris, blamed wholesalers for the chili-price hikes. “The prices are different in different markets. We will punish the wholesalers who have played with the prices,” he added.
The Agriculture Ministry’s horticulture director general, Spudnik Sujono, said previously that the price increase was caused by cartel-like practices in chili distribution. He said only nine wholesalers controlled the commodity in three provinces in Java.
His statement was based on the results of a joint investigation by the National Police’s criminal investigation department, the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) and the ministry. (bbn)
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