The National, Friday July 6th, 2012
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
BETELnut chewers and smokers in Western Highlands and Jiwaka provinces are complaining about increased
prices during the election period.
The betelnut price has risen from 70t to K1.50 for a large nut while a loose cigarette has gone up to K1 in Jiwaka and Western Highlands, except for a few locations in Mt Hagen where some shops sell a cigarette for 70t.
Many people who chew betelnut and smoke at the same time had to dig deeper into their pockets to buy their favourite hit.
A betel nut seller, Thresia Tri, from the Kindeng area in the Anglimp-South Waghi district, Jiwaka province, said on Wednesday afternoon at Pugmin rest house that the price of a 25kg bag of betelnut had gone up from K150 to K400.
Tri said many PMV buses and trucks that used to travel to Lae and Madang transporting betelnuts had been hired by security personnel and the Electoral Commission for elections operations.
She said the few trucks transporting bags of betelnuts and mustard had increased their prices.
She said she had no option but to buy it in order to make a living.
Tri said she then increased her prices in order to recover the money she spent.
She said selling betelnuts was a very risky business.
Tri said in the past when other PMVs now engaged in the elections operation were on the road transporting betelnuts from the coastal provinces into the highlands, there was competition and the price dropped.
She said a 25kg bag of nuts used to be sold for K150 or even K200 but during the election period that was no longer the case.