While there is a very high demand for shell money, often for bride-price and compensation, shell money vendors are currently experiencing a shortage in the supply of shell.The concern was raised by Mrs Bernadette Mossy, a shell money producer spoken to by Solomon Times at the Honiara central market.
"Nowadays the shell to make shell money product have a short supply particularly from Malaita province," said Mossy. "We had to depend on sellers from the Western province but it has also been affected by the tsunami, we are now facing short supply," says Mrs Mossy.
Mrs Mossy said that given the shortage in supply, suppliers have pushed up their prices. "We have had little choice but to increase ours as well," said Mrs Mossy. The price for an eight feet length shell money is now between SBD$800 to SBD$1,000 causing many of their customers to complain.
"People should know that whatever money we make we have to spend on buying the shells. We cannot afford the cost of labour so we end up making it ourselves, most of the time we do not make any profit."
Mrs Mossy said that she is trying her best to work with suppliers of the shells as they are really making life difficult for people like her. "I am sure we can find a rate that will benefit all of us, if we could it will keep us in business and that means buyers for their shells."
"We have no land to plant goods to sell, this has been the only daily income for us to feed our children and meet our needs" said Mosey. "I will continue because I have very little alternative."