Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taipei government ‘not to blame’ for produce price fall

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Farmers yesterday harvest and box head mustard plants in Yunlin County to ship to market, despite the current low prices for these and other vegetables.

Photo: Huang Shu-li, Taipei Times

Human negligence caused a recent fall in vegetable prices, but the Council of Agriculture should not blame the Taipei City Government, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Fruit and vegetable wholesale markets in the city were closed for two three-day periods from Feb. 16 to Feb. 20 and from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, after which vegetable prices dropped by about 30 percent.

As the markets on Monday closed again for three days, the council said it would implement measures to help stabilize prices.

However, according to the Agricultural Wholesale Market Management Regulations (農產品批發市場管理辦法), wholesale market closure periods are decided by local governments.

It is unprecedented for Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co to be closed for 11 days in a 20-day period, former Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co general manager Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said, adding that the fall in vegetable prices was not caused by a natural disaster, but by “human negligence.”

This is not the first time the markets were closed for three days during the Lunar New Year period, but vegetable prices did not plunge as far in the past two years, Ko said.

Ko rejected the council’s claim that the Taipei Market Administration Office decided to close the markets, saying that if he had appointed the firm’s general manager, he would take full responsibility.

The vegetables in the city market account for about 14 percent of nationwide sales, so they could be sent to other areas, Ko added.

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