8 Mar 2005

Solomon Islands agriculture minister concerned about rice price hike

7:02 pm on 8 March 2005

The Solomon Islands minister of Agriculture says he wants the Price Control Unit in the ministry of commerce to address any over-charging of rice.

Alfred Sasako says he is concerned about the rising price of the staple and has also asked consumers to report any low quality rice following complaints about bags sold in Honiara in recent months.

Mr Sasako says a shipment of poor quality rice was sold around Christmas and blame can be partly attributed to misleading labels for a product supposedly from Australia but later found to be sourced from other countries as far away as Egypt.

And he says he wants the Price Control Unit to hold price increases while his ministry tries to foster local production.

"And I don't know, sometimes I wonder whether they exist at all... But certainly that's an area of concern, I think the prices there (are) in my view far too much, yes. And I will definitely be making some input into that area to ensure that while we continue to build a base for our rice production, that the price is within affordability."

The Solomon Islands minister of Agriculture, Alfred Sasako