The National, Friday November 8th, 2013
By ROBERT TIKI
BETEL nut chewers in Western Highlands have to dig deeper to enjoy their favourite flavour this week following a landslide at the Kenagi section of the Highlands Highway in Eastern Highlands.
The blocked road has forced wholesalers to fly their bags of betel nuts at a higher cost which is being passed on to the retailers and eventually the chewers.
Retail sellers go as far as Madang, Wewak and Popondetta to buy the nuts and fly them in.
Yesterday, The National visited the popular Kai Wei Buai market and saw that a bag of betel nut that normally cost K300, was now selling at K800.
A buyer in Anglimp, Berry Paino said he had spent more than K50,000 to fly his buai from Wewak to Mt Hagen on Tuesday.
“It is a risky business but we have to carry on because we have been engaging it for a long time.’’
Paino said they would increase the price of betel nuts in order to make a decent profit.
Another buai seller at the Mt Hagen Main bus stop said he was selling a nut for K1.50 to K2.
John Tep, from Waghi Wan village, said he was reluctantly doing street sales, thinking he would make a loss.
He said he made a loss on Wednesday selling the nuts for K1.50.
“Now I have decided to sell my betel nuts for K2. Chewers will still buy because there is no option,” he said.