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BEIJING, Jan 21- People in Beijing complain about high prices for pork and vegetables ahead of the Lunar New Year as quarantines and business closures in a neighboring province to prevent the spread of COVID -19 have interrupted deliveries to the Chinese capital.
The pressure on food prices is especially sensitive in the run-up to the country’s biggest holiday, which begins on February 11, when families gather around the table.
Already high because of exceptionally low temperatures since December, vegetable values in Beijing, a megacity of 21 million people, soared after many cities in Hebei province closed after a surge in coronavirus infections.
“They are much more expensive. But we still have to eat, who is going to do without vegetables?” Complained a woman surnamed Zhang, shopping at a supermarket in the center of the capital.
A large cabbage, ubiquitous in Beijing kitchens during the winter months, now costs 2 yuan per half a kilogram, twice what it costs a year.
Celery, eggplant and daikon radish prices are also about double what they were a year ago, according to data released this week by Beijing’s Xinfadi Food Wholesale Market.
Eggs and cooking oils are also more expensive than last year, while pork prices have risen in recent weeks to about 46 yuan per kilogram, the same level as a year ago, despite a increase in production.
And more people will be staying in cities this new year as authorities have urged people not to travel to their hometowns during the holidays to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 outbreaks as the number of infections Daily is at its worst since March 2020.
“Consumption of agricultural products in large and medium-sized cities is expected to increase significantly compared to previous years,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement, adding that supplies are abundant and hoarding unnecessary.
Beijing municipal government officials said the city would guarantee stable prices for essential vegetables such as cabbage, radishes and potatoes, and called for faster movement of products to be delivered to markets in the capital.
The measures have not reassured some residents who took to China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo to complain.
“If you want us to stay in Beijing during the holidays, can you control the vegetable prices first? If you stay here during the new year, I will not be able to eat dumplings,” one user claimed.
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