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Gov't blamed for poor price control measures

The China Post--A lawmaker has demanded that the government create a price control mechanism following recent soaring prices of fresh vegetables due to typhoons at a press conference yesterday. People First Party (PFP) Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) spoke for consumers who have complained about the high prices of essential commodities.

Compared to the vegetables that were sold at an average NT$32.9 per kilogram during Typhoon Morakot in 2009, Lee pointed out that vegetables shot to NT$44.4 in the aftermath of the recent Typhoon Tembin. “Damages weren't even as severe this year, which indicated the government has been performing poorly in stabilizing the price,” he explained. Moreover, average vegetable prices have increased 52 percent, while farmers have not benefited, Lee noted.

According to Chung Nai Kuang (鐘乃光), a representative of the Agriculture and Food Agency under the Council of Agriculture, retailers tend to mark vegetables at a higher price by taking advantage of the consumer's expectations of a price hike. He reassured that the bureau would strictly perform the price inspection from then on.

Since vegetable prices fluctuate according to consumer sentiment, the PFP suggested the government release the daily prices and quantities of vegetable goods.

“That way, consumers would be acknowledged, and won't go frantically buying things,” said Lee.

They also urged the government to expand storage to stock vegetable products other than cabbage. “The government has storage only for cabbages,” said Lee. As for other products, such as tomatoes or carrots, not enough is stocked up, resulting in a price hike, he added.

Chung explained that cabbages were easier to stock up on as the vegetable is easier to preserve. “Other greens, specially leafy greens, have difficulties in preserving the quality, which would be unsuitable for stockage,” he added.

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People First Party lawmaker Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪), left, leads a press conference to demand a price control mechanism for vegetable prices, with Chung Nai-kuang (鐘乃光), representative of Council of Agriculture, yesterday. With a sign that read, “Price Hike, Powerless Government” behind him, Lee blasted the government for inadequacy in responding to the people's needs.

(CNA)

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