IPOH, April 12 — The price of dates in the country is slightly cheaper due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation compared to last year. This will be welcome news to Muslims here who celebrate the start of Ramadan from tomorrow.

In a survey by Bernama, it was found that several key places here saw a decline in prices due to an excess supply of dates in the market thus prompting industry players to sell the item at slightly lower prices.

Trader Pazilah Abdul Rani, 44, said the price reduction was due to Muslims not being able to travel to Mecca and Madinah due to the pandemic as well as suppliers offering traders the dates at cheaper prices.

“Suppliers from Mecca are offering cheaper prices as visitors are not able to go there. Therefore, we (traders) buy in large quantities thus allowing us to sell at lower prices to customers. Besides that, we also have promotions with discounts of 10 to 15 per cent,” she said.

Meanwhile, another trader, Nurul Husna Hamzah, 22, said she has been having a good response to the sale of dates at her shop and this includes online sales.

“We are offering a reduction of RM10 to RM20 in the price of premium dates compared to the prices sold last year,” she said, admitting that it was difficult to obtain supplies of dates from the Holy Land because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, she made her orders from suppliers as early as February to ensure a sufficient supply of dates as demand for it is expected to increase as Hari Raya Aidilftri approaches.

Meanwhile, Sharifah Shahul, 33, the manager of a shop selling dates, who has been involved in selling dates for seven years, said she noticed a change in trends from physical purchases to online ones.

Sharifah added that the price of dates in her shop was lower as they sourced their own dates without going through middlemen.

Bernama was told that almost all of these companies sourced their dates from Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine.

Meanwhile, a customer, Aishah Abu Bakar, 48, said she was not worried about getting her supply of dates in the city as there were many offers at competitive prices and quality.

Another customer, who wanted to be known as Tok Mat, 55, said he ate dates every day and not just during the fasting month. He said more people are able to buy dates which are being sold at reasonable prices.


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