Dry season means ‘wild’ market prices

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January 26, 2022

Dry season means ‘wild’ market prices

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service declared the start of this year’s Dry Season on January 6, 2022. According to the Met Office, compared to 2021 where the Dry Season had record-breaking wetter-than-usual weather, the 2022 Dry Season is likely to produce less rainfall, with below-average totals most likely. This will reduce surface water flows and rain-fed water availability and there will also be an increase in surface dryness as the season progresses.

We will need to be on the lookout for the increase in bush/grass/forest and landfill fires and the associated impacts such as deteriorated air quality which can significantly impact people suffering from respiratory ailments.

March will generally be the driest month with lower-than-normal rainfall until May 2022. According to the Met Office, Dry Season accumulated rainfall totals for 2022 in Trinidad are likely to be highest in northeastern areas in the vicinity of Valencia, Sangre Grande, North Oropouche, Toco, and surrounding environs.

The lowest Dry Season totals in Trinidad are likely to occur in southern areas.

In Tobago, seasonal rainfall will be the lowest in the windward part of the island near Kings Bay and Speyside.

With this trend in weather, we can expect our market prices to fluctuate significantly throughout the Dry Season. Currently, according to the wholesale prices at Norris Deonarine Northern Wholesale Market and Port of Spain, and Orange Valley Wholesale Fish Market, we can expect our root crops to be relatively cheaper for the next few months with cassava starting at $3 per pound and sweet potatoes at $6 per pound.

Vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, zucchini, tomatoes and melongene will be lowest in the next few weeks. Leafy vegetables and herbs will vary in prices, especially lettuce and spinach. It’s also an excellent time to stock up on your watermelons as they are currently at three dollars per pound.

As we proceed into the Dry Season, when water becomes scarce, prices will increase yet again especially for crops such as peppers and christophene.

With king fish and carite at $30 and $25 a pound respectively, we are in for an extremely expensive Lent with seafood prices.

There are many upcoming hydroponic and aquaponic farms which will aid in price stabilisation due to consistency of crops, hence we must support and buy local. If you haven’t started your kitchen garden yet, there is no better time than the present. Simple herb gardens can reduce up to $100 weekly off your market bill. Planning your meals based on what you grow in your kitchen garden will also aid in your household’s food security.

I urge you to monitor your market prices as the weeks go by, and when vegetables are cheapest, bulk purchasing and proper freezing in your freezers can save a lot as well.

Another tip for longer produce storage is the investment into a vacuum food sealer which prevents the crop from fast spoilage.

A reminder: while at the market, remember to wash hands or sanitise after handling crops, rinse all produce on arrival to your kitchen and keep your market bags clean by regularly disinfecting.

Send questions to rayannaboodram@hotmail.com.