Chilies as an Economic Indicator

Life and Food Losing its Appeal in Bali as Cost of Chili Peppers Escalate
Although not officially listed by the government as a “basic food need,” many Indonesians would argue that Indonesian daily dietary mainstays lose their culinary appeal if not accompanied by a mandatory daily dosahe of chili peppers.

And for that reason, chilies can be reliably used as secondary economic and political indicators inasmuch as food without chili or chili sauces is seen in these parts as reflecting hardship serious enough to foment political discontent. Radar Bali reported on Thursday, November 6, 2014 that cost of chili peppers in Bali’s capital of Denpasar is on the increase.

Rustini, a chili trader at the Badung Market in Denpasar, says chilies that once sold for Rp. 15,000 (US$1.25) per kilogram have now risen to Rp. 35,000 – Rp. 40,000 per kilogram (US$29 – US$33). A kilogram of chilies at the Ubung Market in north Denpasar now costs Rp. 50,000 a kilogram US$4.20).

Traders say the supply of chilies at the Baturiti Market where traders usually obtain their  supplies is now limited due to continuing drought in the Island’s north. A representative of the Denpasar Business and Trade Department, Wayan Gatra, said there is little his department can do as prices are set by supply and demand, other than suggest  to the public try to reduce chili consumption.

While the government will intervene to limit price increases for the nine items considered as essential food produces, chilies are not – at least officially – counted as an essential food item. The government provides market support to the nine food and nutritional commodities deemed essential to sustaining life, namely: rice, sago and corn; sugar; vegetables and fruits; beef and chicken; cooking oil and margarine; milk, eggs; kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas; and salt.

source : bali discovery tours

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