No food mail price increase
Perishable food still reasonable

Kim Barraclough
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 02/99) - Food mail postage rates will not increase this year.

Additional funds have been granted by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) to support the food mail program.

"There shouldn't be any increase in the price of perishable food," said Fred Hill, manager of the food mail program for DIAND.

There was a price increase scare when the funding for the program was capped in 1996.

With a growing population and some price increases, it became a concern that postage rates would have to go up in order to cover ballooning costs.

Although many of the grocers who are dependant on the program had not heard about the possibility of an increase, they were relieved to hear there would not be any this year.

According to Darren Price, relief manager for the Northern Store in Coral Harbour, a rate increase would not be good for business or the people in the North.

"Sales would go down -- people already don't eat healthy enough because the prices are so high."

He also emphasized how important the food mail program is to Northerners.

"It's extremely important. Without food mail we just wouldn't be able to carry produce," said Price.

Lisa Stuckless, grocery manager for the Northern Store in Taloyoak, also expressed how important the food mail program is to the people of the North.

"Without it you'd be paying $12 for a litre of milk -- We try to use (the food mail program) as much as possible," said Stuckless.

The food mail program provides about 150 Northern communities with various perishable foods at a reasonable cost.