Vegetable prices reach 60-year high in Hualien
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Average vegetable prices in Hualien skyrocketed to a 60-year high as a result of extensive damages to agricultural production in the eastern county caused by heavy rains from Typhoon Usagi. Vegetable and fruit prices in New Taipei City, however, dropped from weak market demand.
September 23, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Preliminary tallies by officials at the Council of Agriculture (COA) showed that, as of noon yesterday, financial losses in farm produce and facilities reached NT$13 million, with those in eastern Hualien and Taitung counties dealt the heaviest blows.
Financial relief will be provided to help those farmers who sustained the worst of the blow to restore operations as fast as possible, including by planting fast-growing vegetables, said COA officials.
Officials supervising agricultural affairs in Hualien said the average wholesale auction price for vegetables jumped to NT$43.80 per kilogram, the highest level in six decades, due to typhoon damage and difficulties in delivery caused by transport disruptions that slashed total daily supply to just 52 metric tons.
They voiced concern that tight supply is unlikely to be eased in the near future, even though land and sea warnings for the storm were already lifted.
While stepping up efforts to improve transport and delivery systems, officials suggested consumers buy more turnips and vegetables produced by local farmers in Hualien as output of farm produce in other counties around Taiwan was also affected by the typhoon's heavy rains, slowing shipments to Hualien.
Meanwhile, officials in populous New Taipei City reported that the average wholesale prices for vegetables and fruits declined by 17 percent and 22 percent, respectively, due to increased supply and weakened consumer demand in the wake of the Mid-autumn Festival holidays.
Total shipment of vegetables to the auction market amounted to 104.3 tons yesterday, up by 1.1 tons from the pre-holiday period, while average price fell by NT$5.20 or 17 percent to NT$25.93 per kg.
Delivery of fruits amounted to 411.5 tons, up by 52.1 tons, while the average price slid by NT$7.60 or 22 percent to NT$26.40 per kg.
Vegetable and fruit retailers and vendors generally reduced purchases from the auction market.
Officials attributed the weak demand to the lack of interest among retailers who assumed that most families still had high stocks of food and fruits built up for the holidays.
COA officials said they expected vegetable and fruit prices to gradually stabilize as farm operations and consumers' demand gradually return to normal.