Belize City, Thurs. Feb. 12, 2009 - Belizeans already faced with whopping prices of basic goods may soon not even be able to enjoy a plate of our much loved Rice and Beans, since the price of beans has risen from $1.75 in December to a pocket-busting $4.00 when we checked today.
Belizeans who shop or cook regularly may have noticed that in late December, just before Christmas, Red Kidney Beans were extremely hard to find. Those lucky enough to find beans were unlucky enough to have to pay $3.00 per pound, an increase of $1.25 per pound over the price in early December.
And a little over a month later, Belizean cooks and shoppers have seen the price of beans rise once again, now coasting somewhere between $3.75 and $4.50 a pound depending on where you shop. The cheapest you will find is at the Queen Square Market where it sells for $3.75, twenty-five cents less than the cheapest grocery store.
Even the prices of black beans and pinto beans have risen. Those now sell for $3.00 a pound as opposed to the traditional $2.00.
The Belize Times spoke with one shopkeeper who said that she was informed that the beans is being imported, hence the rise in price.
As was noted earlier, the price increases started in late December, but to date we have received no press release from the Ministry of Agriculture explaining why the price of beans has gone up so much.
The Belize Times placed a call to the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation, but we were told that the Manager was not in for the rest of the day. He, apparently, is the only one that could give us the information on the increases in the cost of beans.
We then headed over to the Queen Square Market, where we were surprised to see that not even one stall had RK Beans for sale. Most of the vendors claim that they are to get in beans tomorrow, because the Mennonites promised to deliver.
Three market vendors, who have each been there from 5-8 years, said that the price of RK beans doubled its price for the 100 pound sack. From $150.00 it increased to $300. 00. They are still not certain why the increase, but know that the Mennonites would only bring ten 100 pound sacks of beans and that would be purchased quickly. Most of the market vendors still remain without beans even after deliver day because of the small amount the suppliers bring to supply the entire market.
One grocer said that he could not say what the price of his beans will be tomorrow, because he has to wait until he sees what he will be charged by suppliers.
As the Belize Times was on the trail of the costly beans, we were also informed that the scarcity of onions is still a problem. Vendors claim that they were promised by the Marketing and Development Corporation that they would have gotten in a stock on Tuesday, February 10, but the onions have still not reached.
The vendors who have onions are presently getting the small local onions, which are hardly available, or imported onions from Mexico.