Lawmakers push for action against soaring food prices

LUNAR NEW YEAR::TSU lawmakers said that the price increases would add about 10 to 20 percent to a household’s spending on food during the break

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers yesterday said that the prices of agricultural products had soared and called on the government to act to stabilize prices before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Data provided by the Taipei City Market Administration Office showed that the prices of 75 of 113 agricultural products this month had risen compared with the same month last year, TSU caucus whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference yesterday.

Increases in the prices of seafood, meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables are a big concern with the approach of the Lunar New Year holiday, when food consumption is expected to surge.

The general price hike compared with January last year was staggering, Huang said, with the price of chicken meat rising 18.45 percent, pork tenderloin by 17.72 percent, red bigeye fish by 28.04 percent and silver pomfret by 6.33 percent.

“Vegetable prices were even more shocking,” she said, adding that the prices of mushrooms, taro, green onions and garlic increased by between 8.65 percent and 45.65 percent.

The price increases would translate into an additional 10 to 20 percent rise in household expenditure on food during the Lunar New Year holiday compared with last year, TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said.

The TSU caucus accused the Executive Yuan’s task force on commodity price stabilization, which is headed by Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), of malfeasance, saying Jiang had not convened a meeting between Sept. 25 last year and Jan. 10, during which commodity prices had shot up.

The caucus called for the task force to immediately investigate potential price manipulation.