Vegetable shortage continue to push prices upward

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2020 10:21

The prices of vegetables will continue to rise because of dwindling supply, Lê Thanh Tùng, director of the Phước Bình Agricultural Production Service and Trading Cooperative in HCM City said.

Vegetable prices have been surging in HCM City as farmers reduce production due to the Covid-19 pandemic and costs increase because of saltwater intrusion in rivers in the Mekong Delta.

Tran Thi Hien, a trader at Pham Van Hai Market in HCM City’s Tan Binh District, said vegetable prices had been increasing by 5-10 per cent a day this month and tomato cost VND35,000 (US$1.5) per kilogramme, cilantro, VND55,000 (US$2.3) and broccoli, VND30,000(US$1.3).

"The prices are 50-100 per cent up from early this month and two to four times the prices early this year," Hien said.

Le Thanh Tung, director of the Phuoc Binh Agricultural Production Service and Trading Cooperative in HCM City’s Binh Chanh District, said following the outbreak of Covid-19 farmers were afraid there would be no demand and so did not sow vegetables.

As if to worsen their fears, vegetables became very cheap early this month after the Government ordered all restaurants to temporarily close to support social distancing, he said.

“I had to sell off and even give free to charity places. At some places they refused to take because they had too much.”

Meanwhile, in places like Tien Giang Province in the delta, the saltwater intrusion means farmers have to buy water from other provinces.

Afraid this would push the cost of growing vegetables too high and cause losses, farmers stopped growing, Tung added.

The situation is similar in other provinces such as An Giang and Long An, and vegetable output has fallen by 70 per cent.

Normally Tung's co-operative buys around 10 tonnes of vegetables daily to retail, but now it can get only two tonnes at two to four times the normal prices.

With the unfavourable weather and continuing pandemic, the prices of vegetables are expected to keep rising. – VNS

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