Hubei Province has plans for cities to store up a 5-to-7-day supply of vegetable reserves. This bright idea, intended to "stabilize" vegetable prices, was inspired by rising vegetable prices this spring and summer. According to the article, there was a shortage of vegetables this spring due to drought and floods in the south, and vegetable prices are 84% higher than in 2007.
In the peak seasons of April-May and August-September, Hubei has to bring in 6 million tons of vegetables from other provinces at higher prices than local prices.
This program is part of the "vegetable basket" program that has been in place since the early 1990s. Muncipal leaders are responsible for ensuring that their cities have sufficient supplies of vegetables, fruits, and meats. A provincial "vegetable basket risk fund" will be established to finance interregional vegetable sales at certain times. Strict plans will be made to guarantee that cities have minimum supplies of vegetables, and a mechanism to balance supply and demand including compensation systems will be set up.
The province has a 5-year plan to set up standardized production bases for products in the "vegetable basket." Products will be traceable back to source of production. Vegetable production area in Hubei will be held at a minimum of 8 million mu. The system will increase Hubei's self-sufficiency in "vegetable basket" products.
Are shoppers really going to want to buy shriveled carrots that have been stored in a warehouse for months?