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Ministry promises enough produce for festival

By  Li Jiabao  (China Daily)

08:21, February 01, 2013

The Ministry of Commerce pledged on Thursday to ensure the steady supply of agricultural products during Spring Festival after inflation picked up in December.

"The recent increase of vegetable prices was mainly due to the bad weather, which affected production and supply," Wang Bin, deputy director-general of the Department of Market Operations and Consumption Promotion at the Ministry of Commerce, told a news briefing on Thursday.

"In addition, rising costs of labor, land and agricultural resources were also blamed. As the bad weather will last for a while and consumption is expected to increase during Spring Festival, the prices of some vegetables will remain high."

Spring Festival falls on Feb 10 this year.

Wang added that the supply and demand of farm products is "generally balanced" and that market supply during the festival - a peak time for food consumption - will be steady. However, some sellers may face a difficult time after the holiday season, as warmer weather will increase the supply of vegetables.

January saw farm product prices in 36 large and medium-sized cities increase 3.1 percent from December, while vegetable prices rose 16.6 percent in the same period, according to the ministry.

"In the medium and long term, farm product prices will see a rising trend because of growing costs and resource constraints in land and water. In addition, supply in large cities mainly comes from other regions, and bad weather often creates challenges for logistics and adds costs to the supply chain," said Kong Lingyu, deputy director-general of the Department of Market System Development at the Ministry of Commerce.

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