Posted September. 28, 2010 12:55,
The average wholesale price of a 10-kilogram (22 pound) bundle of Chinese cabbage has risen more than four times in a week year-on-year, the Seoul Agricultural and Marine Products Corp. said Monday.
The price jumped from 4,310 won (3.75 U.S. dollars) over the same period last year to 18,260 won (16 dollars).
A source at the Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Association blamed the price surge on bad growth conditions, saying, "Spring this year was unusually short and chilly while summer was extremely hot, accompanied by 24 days of rainfall in August."
Worse, Typhoon Kompasu, which wreaked havoc on the central region Sept. 2, devastated cabbage that had endured weather damage.
The rise in price grew more pronounced after the Chuseok (Full Moon Harvest) holidays. The average transaction price of a 10-kilogram (22 pound) bundle of Chinese cabbage was 29,720 won (26 dollars) Monday, up 34.3 percent from 22,119 won (19 dollars) two days ago and 62.7 percent higher than 18,260 won (16 dollars) over the last seven days.
Vegetable prices generally stabilize downwards after Chuseok, but not this year. The agricultural products corporation said that with the Chuseok holidays lasting for up to nine days this year, vegetables are in short supply.
Opposition political parties blamed the surge in cabbage prices on the four-river restoration project. At a policy seminar held at the headquarters of the South Gyeongsang Province government, Rep. Kang Ki-gap of the progressive Democratic Labor Party and Rep. Choi Chul-kook of the main opposition Democratic Party said the downsizing of vegetable gardens due to the river project led to fluctuations in supply and demand and prices.
Vegetable industry sources and experts expect prices of Chinese cabbage to continue rising through the end of the year.
Park Yeong-gu, a researcher at Korea Rural Economic Institute, said, "Chinese cabbage waiting for harvest is in bad condition because of heavy rainfall and typhoon. The seeds for cabbage crops are sown in early September, meaning this year`s cabbage crop has ended and securing additional cabbage won`t be easy."