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April 28, 2011

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Government takes steps to ease cabbage crisis

LOCAL government is buying cabbage from local growers to ease their losses from falling prices due to oversupply, a problem also occurring elsewhere in the nation.

The city's agricultural authority said yesterday it is also arranging food manufacturers to buy more cabbage to produce pickles along with other measures. It will even allow temporary vegetable stands on roadsides, a rare move, to sell cabbage, officials said

While mobile vegetable stands have often been blamed for tax evasion and operating without licenses by watchdogs, officials said they decided to make an exception given the urgent need to help vegetable farmers. The cabbage stands will only be temporary, officials said.

In the next few days, residents may expect to see a number of authorized mobile cabbage stands on some downtown streets. In response to the government call, an agricultural company based in suburban Qingpu District dispatched more than 10 vehicles to purchase cabbage from growers and has been given authorization to set up roadside stands.

Food manufacturers, canteens and other operations capable of storing fresh food in bulk have been encouraged by the government to increase purchases now to help ease the cabbage crisis.

Such operations in Jinshan and Fengxian districts have since bought about 2,000 tons of cabbage more than usual, agricultural officials said. Such companies will likely be rewarded with incentives at a later date for offering a helping hand.

Suppliers are also buying more cabbage to produce processed vegetable products such as pickled cabbage and salads, officials said.

Authorities also made business more convenient inside vegetable wholesale markets.

Some farmers in the city had already started destroying unharvested cabbage to curb losses. Due to low prices, farmers said harvesting and transporting the cabbage would create bigger losses than destroying them.


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