Vegetable prices peak for the new year amid ghost month demand
Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) Seasonal demand during the shadow month pushed vegetable prices to a new high for 2021, an Agriculture Council (COA) official said on Tuesday.
Average wholesale prices for vegetables in Taipei rose 0.7% to NT $ 55.5 (US $ 1.99) per kilogram from the previous trading day on Sunday, according to data released on the council’s website .
It was the highest recorded in 2021 and the second highest in history, said Yao Chih-wang (姚志旺), deputy director of the COA’s Agriculture and Food Agency.
The unprecedented wholesale price of vegetables – NT $ 56.1 per kg – was recorded in 2016, after a severe cold snap saw temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius and caused significant loss of produce .
The current price hike, Yao said, is due to higher demand ahead of the Ghost Festival on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which falls on August 22 this year.
During the month, people prepare feasts for the spirits of the underworld who are supposed to be temporarily allowed to return to the world of the living.
Vegetable prices are typically higher on weekends and Tuesdays, when Taipei’s wholesale markets start a new trading week, according to Yao.
Taipei’s vegetable supply soared to 1,225.5 tonnes on Tuesday, up 21% from Sunday and closer to the usual level of 1,300 tonnes before the recent price spike caused by agricultural damage from heavy rains in early August, according to the COA website.
At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, estimated agricultural losses caused by torrential rains reached NT $ 582.73 million in central and southern Taiwan, the COA said in a statement.