Tuesday, January 31, 2023

China urges stable output, supply of vegetables as winter nears By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two grandmothers with their granddaughter trade vegetables at a market on the outskirts of Shanghai, China June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s agriculture ministry urged local authorities on Friday to ensure stable production and supplies of vegetables during winter after a surge in the prices of produce.

Heavy rains that flooded key northern producing regions pushed up the prices of vegetables, fuelling concern over food prices at a time when consumers must brace for a hike in energy costs ahead of winter.

Local authorities must “strengthen responsibility and make ensuring stable production and supplies of vegetables an important task,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website.

The prices of vegetables have jumped in some regions since late September, fuelled by factors such as disastrous weather, rising costs of production, coronavirus control measures and power curbs, the ministry added.

The call comes as Beijing focuses on food security after the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world’s top consumer struggles with an unpreceded power crunch that has pushed up production costs.

The ministry asked local governments to ensure sufficient emergency stockpiles of vegetables. It urged them to stabilise prices, and ensure supplies during autumn and winter, particularly during festive occasions such as the Lunar New Year, the Spring Festival and the Winter Olympics.

It also urged preparation of emergency plans to cushion against the impact of bad weather and diseases.

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