Vegetable prices jump 3- or 4-fold from 2012

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Vegetable prices jump 3- or 4-fold from 2012

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The heavy snowfall and cold snap has caused prices of major vegetables to spike, with Napa cabbage quadrupling from one year ago.

Wholesale prices of popular winter vegetables including Napa cabbage, radish and spinach at Garak Market in southern Seoul jumped yesterday, the first trading day of the new year from one year earlier, according to the Seoul Agro-Fisheries and Food Corporation.

One 18-kilogram (39.6-pound) box of premium-class radishes was selling for 13,282 won ($12.50) at Garak yesterday, up 123.6 percent from 5,938 won exactly one year earlier.

Ten kilograms of premium-class Napa cabbage also jumped 310.4 percent from 3,235 won to 13,279 won over the 12-month period.

First-class carrots also became much more expensive, with a 20-kilogram box going for 89,500 won, up 279.2 percent.

One 8-kilogram bag of premium-class cabbage rose 221.7 percent to 18,513 won, while first-class broccoli was up 43.6 percent at 40,317 won wholesale.

A 4-kilogram box of spinach was trading fort 20,648 won yesterday, marking an on-year increase of 46.1 percent from 14,131 won.

One kilogram of premium-class green onions doubled from 874 won to 1,756 won.

“Farming conditions have been difficult due to the record-breaking cold spell, with temperatures often falling below 10 degrees Celsius [50 Fahrenheit] nationwide and lots of snow,” said an industry insider. “With a sharp drop in shipment volume, prices have soared.”

The cold wave is still expected to continue and vegetable prices remain high in the coming months.

Some discount store chains are preparing sales events to ease the burden on cash-strapped consumers, with Lotte Mart cutting its prices of spinach and radish by up to 30 percent nationwide until Wednesday. It said it has doubled up on volume of certain vegetables to facilitate this, including 100 tons of radish, 40 tons of spinach and 10 tons of garlic.

“To ease the growing burden of consumer prices, we have prepared an extensive sale to combat the price hikes with temporarily lower prices,” said Lee Jong-chul, an employee who is responsible for product planning at Lotte Mart.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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