Chinese herbs, spices getting more expensive

KUCHING, Oct 25: Due to various factors, the prices of Chinese herbs and spices in Sarawak have been climbing, some of which have doubled when compared to prices last year.

President of Sibu Drug Merchants’ Association Kiu Chiong Nguong said in general, there is a increasing trend in terms of prices of Chinese herbs such as ginseng and wolfberries.

However, he said it is difficult to identify the extent of the spike in the price of Chinese herbs as prices vary according to grade.

“For example, ginseng. Different parts and types of ginseng are sold at different prices. Some of these prices have increased more than others. Additionally, the prices of Chinese herbs also fluctuate.

“However, it is quite true that in general, the prices of most Chinese herbs are on the increase,” Kiu told DayakDaily.

Citing Chinese Salvia Root and Cordyceps as an example, he said the prices of these two types of Chinese herbs have increased more than 50 per cent compared to last year.

He said the increase was due to the weaker Malaysian ringgit and stronger Chinese renminbi.

“It is also due to the fact that the production of many Chinese herbs have generally decreased and demand in the mainland Chinese market is on the increase.

“For Cordyceps, it is due to the decrease in production caused by weather conditions.

“Like durians, in certain years because of bad weather, durian production greatly decreases. Then for that particular year, durian would be very expensive. It is the same thing with Cordyceps,” Kiu explained.

Meanwhile, another herbalist who declined to be named said apart from Chinese herbs, prices of spices are also on the increase.

“Some of them have increased between 50 to 100 per cent.”

“For example, last year, a kilogramme of cinnamon was only RM10 per kg. Beginning of this year, the price went up to RM15 per kg. Now, it is RM24 to 25 per kg,” she said.

She said the increase in prices is due to the weak Malaysian ringgit as well lower production in China.

“It is also due to hoarding. Some businessmen hoard the spices with the intention to increase their prices,” she said. — DayakDaily