American Samoa experienced slight jump in food prices last month
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A hike in the cost of imported taro from Samoa once the ban was lifted, as well as high increased demand in export of turkey tail to Samoa, resulted in a slight jump for the American Samoa Basic Food Index (BFI) for May 2018, according to the BFI summary data released June 8 by the ASG Commerce Department’s Statistics Division.
It notes that the cost of basic food for May went up 2.6% since April “mainly due” to:
• an almost 18% increase in the cost of imported taro after the ban was lifted;
• an 11% increase in freshly baked bread;
• an 8% increase in turkey tails; and
• a 4% increase in the cost of ice cream.
The BFI for May 2018 registered at 105.9 points compared to 103.3 points in April.
According to the DOC, despite a drop in 4 food commodities such as pork spare ribs, sugar, mayonnaise, and butter, “the hike in the BFI was driven by the increase in price per pound of imported taro from Apia, as well as the increased demand for turkey tails shipped to Apia, causing local prices to hike.”
Additionally, the cost of local bread also increased in all selected outlets; however, the rest of the food items remained constant in May 2018.
Samoa News had observed in the month of May — especially around the weekend of Mother’s Day — large shipments of turkey tail cases being taken to Samoa, and throughout the rest of May.
Depending on the wholesale store on island, the average retail price for a case of turkey tail runs less than $15, but other locations price them as high as $17.95.
As for imported taro from Samoa, the local market was flooded when the ban was lifted and more taro finally became available on island.