Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unsellable Vegetables On Sale Now

In a sharp reversal from last year's crisis of high vegetable prices, the latest crisis this month is a glut of vegetables. Lots of news stories tell about farmers who can't sell their vegetables even at rock-bottom prices.

On April 26, the Ministry of Commerce released a set of 13 policy measures to address the "hard to sell" vegetable problem.

The first two measures involve arm-twisting of supermarket chains. In each locality officials will "guide" supermarkets to buy "hard to sell" vegetables directly from farmers. Supermarkets engaged in the "farmer-supermarket linkage" program will be reminded of their social responsibility. They will buy produce at "reasonable" prices and set up special sale counters for the "hard to sell" vegetables.

In agricultural demonstration areas large wholesale markets and marketing enterprises will play a leadership and demonstration role by buying and selling "hard to sell" vegetables. Big wholesale markets subsidized by a "double-100" program will set up special areas where farmers can sell their "hard to sell" vegetables with no stall fee paid to the market. Companies with cold storage will be encouraged to purchase and store vegetables.

There will be a network of community vegetable markets set up in cities. City markets will set aside areas for farmers to sell their vegetables with no stall fees. Cooperatives and farmers will be encouraged to go into cities to sell their vegetables directly to urban citizens. They are studying the prospects for setting up weekend vegetable markets, similar to American farmers' markets.

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