(Yicai Global) Jan. 19 -- China will keep a sharp watch on market conditions and take active measures to ensure adequate fresh food supplies to prevent prices from rising sharply as the peak consumption period of the Chinese New Year holiday approaches, a government official said today.
The National Development and Reform Commission will oversee production scheduling, logistics transportation and end sales to guarantee the smooth delivery of daily food necessities, said Yuan Da, director of the NDRC’s department of policy studies. It will encourage cities with few reserves to actively source goods elsewhere and to sign contracts in advance. Stocks will be released promptly from national warehouses when needed, especially frozen pork, he added.
Heavy rainfall in the agricultural heartlands in the south of China followed by three cold snaps in the second half of last year have affected the winter supply of fresh greens and pushed up prices, according to the head of the statistics department of Xinfadi market, Beijing’s largest wholesale food market.
The average price of vegetables at Xinfadi had soared nearly 60 percent on Jan. 15 from the same day last year to CNY4.22 (USD0.65) per kilogram, and were up 4.84 percent from the week before.
Beijing must ensure that the prices of cabbage, radish, potato and other vegetable varieties consumed by residents in daily life remain stable and guarantee adequate supply, Wu Xiangyang, deputy head of the Beijing Commerce Bureau, said on Jan. 17.
The cost of transportation to Beijing has risen significantly, as vendors try not to use vehicles and labor coming from neighboring Hebei province where there is an outbreak of Covid-19. The lack of capacity has caused freight rates to Beijing to increase by 50 percent, and in some cases to even double.
The shortage of manpower due to epidemic prevention and control measures has also led to hikes in vegetable sorting and packaging costs. These costs are reflected in vegetable prices, the head stated.
The price of meat is also on the rise. Pork prices were up 16.67 percent to CNY45.92 (USD7) per kilogram in the first week of the year from the middle of November last year. The price of beef jumped 9.2 percent to CNY76.95 per kg and the price of mutton rose 8.16 percent to CNY74.87 per kg.
Editor: Kim Taylor