Business News

Festive Season Sees a Slump in supply of betel Nut and an Increase in prices

By Hera Hoi – EM TV Online

The National Capital District’s buai ban has left the supply of betel nuts limited in the city of Port Moresby and nearby villages, and has driven the prices of this high-demand commodity by a large margin. 

While NCD residents and buai consumers have settled with the high prices since the ban, this year’s festive season has brought even more problems as the high demand and restricted supplies has once again raised the prices even higher.

Family gatherings in the nation’s capital, whether it be family members flying in from other provinces or moving to the nearby villages of Port Moresby, have described what they feel as “finding it harder and harder to buy the green nut.”

For the nearby villages of Port Moresby of Tubusereia and Pari, betel nut prices have reached a record K2.00 a piece and if buai chewers can buy one of these little green nuts for K1, they would consider themselves lucky.

Meanwhile, the prices of tobacco have also seen changes with the new increase on tobacco taxes. The prices have climbed and it is now more than K1 for a single cigarette, packets fetching up to K20 (and more) for 25 pieces.

“Chewing and smoking”, as is commonly referred to, are two of Port Moresby and the nearby villages’ biggest and challenging health habits. Experts have stated that chewing and smoking are contributing factors to mouth and lung cancer. On the flipside, it is a major income-generator for families across the NCD and Central Provinces, leaving the buai ban and the sale of tobacco a controversial one.

While a large number of the city’s residents have applauded the positive changes made for the city, others are still reeling from some of the impacts associated with the ban. However, for now, the latest update is said to include the resumption of trade and consumption of betel nut in 2015, but with licenses at designated locations in Port Moresby.

For consumers whose suppliers are playing it tough and are refusing to decrease their prices, maybe – just maybe – make it your new year resolution to stop or reduce “chewing and smoking” to improve both your physical and financial health.

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