China drought fuels food price increases

SHANGHAI – THE impacts of China’s worst drought in 50 years have been served up on the nation’s dining tables as the price of rice and vegetables from drought-hit provinces have skyrocketed.

The average price of staple foods in 50 cities has increased significantly, and the price of some leaf vegetables has jumped 16 per cent in one month, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Decreased production because of the drought has been cited as the major reason for price increases, and the prices of rice and vegetables may not drop soon, according to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Statistics from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters show that an area of nearly 7 million hectares of arable land has been affected by the drought, with Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces most seriously affected.

‘I didn’t buy many leaf vegetables in the last week because the price is getting crazy,’ said Zhang Weirong, a 67-year-old Shanghai resident. ‘Cabbage used to be as cheap as paper, and for 5 yuan (95 cents) you would get too many cabbages to carry home,’ she said.

She has had to switch to melons and pumpkins, which are getting cheaper this year. She also changed from eating porridge for breakfast to noodles. ‘My grandson said he doesn’t like the dishes I cook these days, but what else can I do?’ she said. — CHINA DAILY/ANN

China drought fuels food price increases

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