Some vegetable prices rise over 50% in Oct, but supply stable: agriculture ministry
Published: Nov 04, 2021 11:47 PM
Citizens buy vegetables at a market in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province.Photo:Xinhua

Citizens buy vegetables at a market in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province.Photo:Xinhua

Wholesale vegetable prices skyrocketed by more than 50 percent in October compared with last year, but China's agriculture ministry stressed on Thursday that supply remains stable, after long lines of consumers were seen in some smaller cities in recent days. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said at a press conference that China’s supply of vegetables remains stable, and it is unnecessary for consumers to worry about the recent rise in some vegetable prices. 

The national vegetable planting area this year is estimated at 320 million mu (21.3 million hectares), with an output of 750 million tons, an increase of about 1 percent over the previous year.

In the next three months, supply is expected to reach 200 million tons, increasing by 7 million tons, the ministry noted.

“Even in the most serious period of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country last year, food supply remained abundant in supermarkets with multiple varieties available” , Liu Lihua, an official of the ministry, said during the press conference.

According to data from the ministry, the average wholesale price of 28 kinds of vegetables in October reached 5.25 yuan ($0.82) per kilogram, 11.7 percent higher than the same period last year and an increase of 16.7 percent compared with September.

The ministry said that soaring prices resulted from weather disruptions, rising prices of agricultural raw materials and increasing transportation costs, as well as power shortages and sporadic COVID-19 flare-ups. 

Since September, heavy rain and sudden spells of cold weather have left farmland flooded, leading to lower production of vegetables, the ministry said. 

According to data from the China Vegetable Association, national vegetable production totaled 110 million tons, 2 million tons less than the same period of normal years.

Moreover, prices of agricultural inputs including fertilizers and pesticides have continued to rise this year, pushing up the cost of vegetable production, the ministry added.

As northern China suffered from floods and cold waves, the cross-regional transfer of vegetables increased, with longer transport distances, leading to an increase in transport costs, coupled with soaring prices of gasoline and diesel.