Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

COA takes measures to boost vegetable trading

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Unharvested cabbages rot in a field at a farm in Yunlin County yesterday.

Photo: Chan Shih-hung, Taipei Times

Markets nationwide have been asked to help promote vegetables so that their supply and prices stabilize, Council of Agriculture (COA) Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday, following a plunge in vegetable prices due to market closures in Taipei.

The city’s fruit and vegetable wholesale markets closed from Feb. 16 to Feb. 20 for the Lunar New Year holiday and from Feb. 24 to Monday last week for the nativity of the King of Heaven (天公生).

When they reopened on Tuesday last week, media reported vegetable stockpiles and collapsed prices.

Making matters worse, the markets closed yesterday for the Lantern Festival (元宵節), and will not reopen until Thursday.

It is unprecedented that the city’s wholesale markets were closed for two three-day periods over such a short period, in addition to the Lunar New Year holiday, Chen said, adding that the decision was made by the Taipei Market Administration Office.

Asked why the council failed to prepare for the scenario when it learned of the city’s policy in July last year, he said he wished to focus on solving the problem, rejecting requests to comment on the city government’s stance.

Workers at Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (台北農產運銷公司) are to temporarily stop taking days off from Thursday to help boost trading, company chief secretary Lu Chuan-li (路全利) said.

The wholesale market in Yunlin County’s Siluo Township (西螺) is to open as usual, while Taichung’s wholesale market plans to extend the time for bidding on Thursday, market representatives said.

As demand for vegetables has surged in Japan, following heavy that has affected harvests, the agency has exported 1,100 tonnes of vegetables to the country, Su said, adding that an additional 2,300 tonnes are to be exported at a later date.

The council expects these measures to see more than 2,700 tonnes of vegetables traded on Thursday, with prices kept between NT$18 and NT$20 per kilogram, Chen said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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