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Now the shortage affects cooking oil


HOT on the heels of a shortage of basic food items—flour and rice—cooking oil is now short on the shelves of supermarkets.

Cooking oil is a basic household item used by most housewives, but local suppliers have not been providing supermarkets with the amount they are requesting, leaving shelves empty.

“We usually get oil from National Flour Mills (NFM) and Gopaul and Co, but lately our supply has been limited and the price went up,” said Igor Bernard, manager of MS Foodcity Supermarket in Debe.

Another manager at Chunilal Manieram Supermarket, Palo Seco, said: “It looks like wholesalers are not getting a supply of oil, so we are a bit short.”

Though the shelves in some supermarkets are bare, those who have a limited supply have already hiked up prices, putting an additional burden on the pockets of consumers.

A four-litre bottle of Happi, Naisa and Sizzola soybean cooking oils have now jumped from $49.99 to $69.99.

Grocers are uncertain when their shelves will be restocked.

Toilet paper, too

But oil did not seem to be the only item in short supply. Trinidad Tissues complained of a shortage of raw materials used for the manufacture of toilet paper.

For the local brands—White Cloud, Soft n’ Pretty and Soft Weave—a bale of toilet paper containing 48 rolls, which used to cost $75, is now $85.

The increased cost on locally-manufactured toilet paper came two weeks ago, because of a shortage of raw materials used to manufacture the product.

“Raw materials are currently coming from Colombia, but they seem to be facing problems as well,” said a spokesman from Trinidad Tissues Ltd, in a telephone interview last week.

He said the company was out of the White Cloud and Soft ‘n’ Pretty brands, and the only available local brand was Soft Weave.

He added that because of the shortage, the company had been forced to distribute less toilet paper to supermarkets.

“We hope that the situation improves within the next

few weeks.”

Sarah, a cashier at Chin Wong’s Grocery in south Trinidad, said they were already feeling the effects of the shortage of toilet paper at the grocery.

“Our grocery is already very small. I feel really bad telling people they cannot take more than two rolls of toilet paper, but that is what management said.”

She said this same system applied to flour and rice. Customers complained bitterly.

“We are not happy about what is taking place, but we are not left with much of a choice at this time,” Sarah said.

©2008 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Trinidad and Tobago News

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