Unlike last year, fruit and vegetable prices are unlikely to fall drastically after the Lunar New Year holiday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Wednesday after his first meeting with new Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (TAPM) general manager Weng Chen-hsin (翁震炘).
Ko, accompanied by Weng and Taipei Fishery Marketing Co chairman Huang Chun-cheng (黃俊誠), visited the Taipei Fish Market and Taipei First Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market to exchange Lunar New Year greetings with vendors.
Weng, who previously served as secretary-general of the Council of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Agency, was recommended by the council and elected as general manager last week.
He took over a post that was dogged by a months-long controversy that led to the dismissal of Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) as general manager in late November last year.
Ko had criticized Wu several times for refusing to report to the Taipei City Council.
Ko said that he aims to start work on the market renovation project before the end of the year and hopes that it could operate smoothly with the cooperation of vendors and the city government.
Vegetable prices dropped by about 30 percent after the Lunar New Year holiday last year, with many attributing it to TAPM’s decision to close wholesale markets for two three-day periods in February.
Having learned from last year’s experience, Ko said that the same situation is unlikely to occur again this year.
Weng’s educational background and work experience show that he has the expertise needed for the job, Ko said.
“I only have two requirements for the TAPM general manager: to have the required expertise and willingness to report to the city council,” he said, adding that the city government had already negotiated with the council on the issue and that it had agreed.
Meanwhile, asked about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai’s (卓榮泰) comment on Tuesday that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait could become good neighbors, but not one family,” Ko said: “There are various political views in Taiwan.”
“People can hold different political views,” he said. “The most valuable elements of Taiwanese values are democracy, freedom, diversity and openness.”
Asked if Cho’s remarks could mean cooperation between the DPP’s “pan-green” and Ko’s “white” force, he said that even people in the same political party might have different views on various issues, so it is really a matter of what issues they want to cooperate on.
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