‘Rain Bomb’ blows up vegetable prices by 50% in Greater Taipei

Damages from Taiwan’s extreme plum rain raises vegetable prices by 50 percent in Greater Taipei

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Straight days of heavy rain have caused severe damages to crops causing steep price hikes for leafy greens in traditional markets.

Straight days of heavy rain have caused severe damages to crops causing steep price hikes for leafy greens in traditional markets. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—The strongest plum rain Taiwan ever witnessed destroyed a wide variety of crops, leading to a national vegetable price uptick average of 30 percent, but the Greater Taipei region reported prices soaring more than 50 percent for certain greens.

Consecutive days of torrential rain damaged most crops in central and southern Taiwan, causing the average wholesale price for vegetables to soar 52 percent from NT$25.53 (US$0.85) per kilogram to NT$35.9 on Sunday.

Leafy green vegetables reported the steepest wholesale price hike, prices of Taiwan sword leaf lettuce or known as "A tsai" (A菜) quadrupled from NT$20 to NT$50 per kilogram, while bok choy prices increased 2.8 times from NT$16 to NT$50 per kilogram, said Kou Jung-Jui (郭榮瑞), sales manager of New Taipei City Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Co.

Napa cabbage prices also soared from NT$10.1 to NT$23.1, while cucumber prices rose more than 80 percent as of Sunday.

Three months ago cabbage prices plummeted to NT$10 per cabbage, but flooding from torrential rain raised prices by 12 times to at least NT$130.

Cabbage was being sold at around NT$55 per kilogram because it was being transported from Li Shan, or also known as Pear Mountain in Yilan County, said vegetable vendors.

Overall the average fruit wholesale price declined, but a couple of fruits reported skyrocketing prices, such as banana wholesale prices jumping from NT$10 to an upper price of NT$80 per kilogram.

Steep price hikes were also reported for watermelons, java apples, and pears.

Heavy rains have made it difficult for farmers to harvest vegetables, and the markets were closed on Sunday, which might have led to the substantial price hike, explained Agriculture and Food Agency chief Weng Chen-hsin (翁震炘).

The agency forecasts vegetable prices will decline after farmers complete their emergency harvest of remaining crops.

However, vegetable vendors were less optimistic.

Vegetable prices in New Taipei City will continue to soar over the next two to three weeks, estimated New Taipei City Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Chairman Liao Jung-Ching (廖榮清).

Kou noted vegetables submerged in water can rot leading to price declines, but vegetable price trends will depend on how long the plum rain season will last this year.

The price uptick can continue well into September or October if the weather does not improve before the typhoon season, he added.

Total crop losses reached an estimated NT$57.52 million as of Sunday night, with Yunlin County being the most affected, recording a loss of NT$24.21 million.