The worst flooding in 40 years has pushed up prices of agricultural crops and blocked shoppers from traveling to Phnom Penh’s wholesale markets.
Vendors at Phsar Kandal, which is known for its fresh crops, say they have not been able to stock as many products since the flooding began a few months ago.
Farmers have lost land to grow products, and roads cut off by the high waters have blocked goods from being transported into the capital’s markets from the provinces, Thailand and Vietnam.
Prices of vegetables and crops have increased, some as much as six times the price they were before the flood, vendors say.
“I think prices of vegetables are now higher than meat,” said grocery owner Seng Chan.
Cabbage, water grass and other vegetables used to be sold at 800 riel per kg, but now they are sold at 2,500 or 3,000 riel for the same amount, he said.
“People complain to me about high prices every day,” Seng Chan said. “But I can’t help it. Not many people are able to grow products. The prices won’t come down until national roads are fixed and land becomes available for cultivation.”
Khun Thea, a 19-year-old shopper, said she noticed prices of vegetables are increasing 100 riel every day. She said it makes her life more difficult but she still shows sympathy for vendors who sell at higher prices.
“I understand why vendors need to increase prices,” she said. “If there weren’t floods, goods would be very cheap.”
Wholesalers at Olympic Market are also victims of the flooding, struggling to sell goods to their customers, who regularly come to the market from provinces. “All my regular customers who come from provinces have not shown up for a month,” said Lim Eng, a wholesaler of household items. She said retailers are not able to travel to Phnom Penh because roads are cut off.
“Even though they can travel, they would not come to buy my goods because people in the provinces cannot think of anything but food.”