Wholesale vegetable prices soar 65% after Typhoon Megi

Vegetable prices in the local wholesale market jumped about 65 percent Thursday from a day earlier after Typhoon Megi damaged local transportation facilities, leading to difficulties in delivery and a drop in supplies, according to the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) under the Council of Agriculture.

Typhoon Megi made landfall in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, on Tuesday, killing four people, causing 527 injuries and leaving more than 3.64 million households without power before moving away from Taiwan the next day. On Thursday, rescuers were still digging for three people who may have been buried in a mudslide in Kaohsiung.

The strong winds and heavy rain impacted the transportation network, which made it difficult for vegetables to be delivered to the market and cut supplies by about 30 percent Thursday.

The AFA said that the average wholesale vegetable price in the fruit and vegetable market in Taipei -- the benchmark transaction marketplace in Taiwan -- hit NT$50.1 (US$1.60) per kilogram Thursday, up some 65 percent from NT$30.3 per kilogram a day earlier.

The AFA said that Thursday's average vegetable price was also much higher than a fair price of NT$35 per kilogram in the local wholesale market. The latest average, however, remained below a recent high of NT$57 seen during the March-April period, the agency said.

The average wholesale price of Chinese headed cabbage rose 90.2 percent from a year earlier, the largest daily increase among the vegetables sold in the Taipei fruit and vegetable market, market sources said.

Meanwhile, the average wholesale price of Chinese white cabbage also rose 54.5 percent from Wednesday, with a 63.2 percent increase for Chinese mustard and an 87.6 percent rise for kale, the sources said.

To avoid the financial impact resulting from the soaring vegetable prices, the AFA said, it would be better for consumers to visit hypermarket chains, which offer discounts on their vegetables.

The AFA said that it has coordinated with three major hypermarket and supermarket chains -- Pxmart, Carrefour and Amart -- in a bid to provide more affordable vegetables to consumers.

The agency said that despite the drop in supply on Thursday, there is no need to worry over any shortage for the moment, since the AFA will keep monitoring market conditions and release its stocks to increase supplies.

The AFA said that after the damaged transportation facilities have been repaired, vegetable deliveries are expected to gradually return to normal Thursday afternoon, adding that it is possible that the average wholesale price will start to stabilize from Friday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel