Falling cabbage pricesNapa cabbage prices are plummeting. They’ve tumbled roughly 70 percent from the peak hit two months ago, when prices skyrocketed because of a poor harvest in a growing season that recorded unusually high amounts of rainfall. The rapid price plunge is causing headaches for consumers and retailers alike, just as the quick increase did earlier this year. Home Plus, a large discount store chain, said it sold only 20,000 Napa cabbages after making contracts with Chinese companies for 75,000 vegetables. That spells trouble for the country’s cabbage market, which is now facing an abundance of unsold cabbages.
But the real problem is that some members of the opposition parties, together with civic groups, are trying to reap political gains from the issue. They have attempted to link the problem to the four-rivers restoration project, arguing that the dam and dredging project has reduced the amount of vegetable farmland by 5.69 percent. But the amount of farmland around the four rivers accounts for just 0.3 percent of the nation’s cabbage fields.
Even if we leave statistics out of it, the current situation shows that the claims being made by the opposition parties and civic groups are totally groundless. First, Napa cabbages grown in the highlands, which saw steep price hikes, were cultivated in areas way above sea level. These areas have nothing to do with the four-rivers project. Take a field trip there and you will instantly understand why. Still, the opposition parties have continued to make these outrageous arguments in an attempt to attack the government.
Vegetables are very susceptible to supply and demand. Therefore, farmers in the south determine the amount of land for sowing cabbage seeds depending on whether farmers in the highlands had a good harvest or not. After the bad harvest in the highlands, southern farmers planted more cabbage seeds than before. Now the amount of cabbages grown in the south is expected to increase by 15 percent. When coupled with the imported Napa cabbages, the amount will likely plummet further.
We believe that the reckless attempts to link the bad crop caused in the highlands to the four-rivers project may cause another steep plunge in prices. The head of the main opposition Democratic Party, Sohn Hak-kyu, said after he was elected chairman, “What we need is not opposition for the sake of opposition but opposition for the well-being of the people.” He needs to think about what he said.
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