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‘Cabbage Summit’ to Discuss Surging Produce Prices

Posted October. 07, 2010 11:39,   


The administration and the ruling Grand National Party will hold Sunday evening a meeting of the government, party and presidential office to stem the soaring prices of vegetables, senior party officials said Wednesday.

The fear is that runaway inflation of produce could aggravate public resentment against the government ahead of “kimjang,” or the winter kimchi-making season.

The meeting will take place at the prime minister’s official residence in downtown Seoul. The original plan was for nine officials from the administration, party and presidential office to attend the talks, but this was expanded to include Cabinet ministers.

Ruling party members to attend the meeting will be chairman Ahn Sang-soo, floor leader Kim Moo-sung, chief policymaker Ko Heung-kil, supreme council members Na Kyung-won, Chung Doo-un and Suh Byung-soo, and secretary general Won Hee-ryong.

Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoo Jeong-bok and Strategy and Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun will represent the administration in addition to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, his chief of staff Lim Chae-min and Special Affairs Minister Lee Jae-oh.

President Lee Myung-bak’s chief of staff Lim Tae-hee, senior presidential secretary for political affairs Chung Jin-suk, and senior presidential secretary for national policy Baek Yong-ho will represent the presidential office.

A leading ruling party source said, “While the meeting will be the first between ruling party leaders and the new prime minister, it will also serve as a venue for criticism of the administration’s failure to prevent the price hikes and discuss comprehensive measures to cope with the situation.”

Another topic of discussion will be responding to the allegation that the four-river restoration project has caused the price of Chinese cabbage to surge.

Separately, the National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation said Wednesday that it will sell 1,000 tons of Chinese cabbage at a 30-percent discount from Thursday to ease the situation. It will also sell three million heads of Chinese cabbage for 2,000 won (1.79 U.S. dollars) each from late next month.

The federation will sell 220 tons of Chinese cabbage at 30 percent off at its five outlets in Seoul and vicinity from Thursday until Oct. 13 and at 14 other outlets nationwide for 10 days from Oct. 14. It will also take advance sales for the cabbage via its online shopping homepage from Tuesday for shipments that will begin on Nov. 29.

One person can buy up to three heads of cabbage at the discount price and three to four heads via online shopping.

“The shortage of Chinese cabbage has been caused by bad crops at high altitude areas,” federation chairman Choi Won-byung said. “The supply of kimchi cabbage will improve, however, because cabbage from lower altitude areas will be shipped soon.”

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