The State Council, or China’s cabinet, on Tuesday urged more targeted measures to stabilize food prices as the Spring Festival holiday, a peak time for food consumption, draws near. In a statement posted on the government’s official website, the State Council said agriculture authorities should play a guiding role in introducing cold-resistance and pest prevention measures to boost vegetable production across the country.

Municipal governments in major northern cities should draw up contingency plans and release government reserves of vegetables and meat in a timely fashion, the statement said. Regions that have seen significant vegetable price hikes should coordinate with local wholesale and retail markets to lower sellers’ admission and booth fees, as well as offer subsidies to those markets and other types of vegetable stores, if necessary, the statement said.

Other measures include distributing one-time living allowances and temporary price subsidies to groups facing financial difficulties, according to the statement.

Farm produce prices have been on the rise since November, when cold weather cut supplies, angering the public. The average wholesale price for 18 staple vegetables in 36 major cities climbed 1.9% week on week in the seven days ending Jan. 20, marking the 12th consecutive week of increases, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.

Source: Xinhua Jan 2013


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