• Kyodo News


Wholesale prices of vegetables are rising due to unstable weather conditions, such as heavy rains that have delayed crop growth, a trend that may affect households in the form of higher retail prices.

At the Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, prices of some vegetables have been on the rise for about two weeks, with the weekly average for the July 9-15 period coming to ¥2,037 per 5 kg of green onions and ¥1,050 per 10 kg of Japanese radishes, both up more than 20 percent from the previous week.

The price of lettuce surged about 70 percent from two weeks earlier to ¥1,008 per 10 kg.

Falls in the volumes of vegetables shipped in western Japan are causing traders to come over from Kansai and Kyushu, a broker at the Tokyo market said.

In southern Kyushu, where record rainfalls have been observed from around mid-June, summer vegetables such as okra and “goya,” or bitter gourd, have been affected.

A drop in the shipment of okra caused its price per 100 grams to rise to around ¥100, about ¥30 to ¥40 higher than usual. The price of goya has also jumped about 50 percent, according to the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives group’s business arm for Miyazaki Prefecture.

“The continued rains are causing flowers to fall and produce few berries,” a local JA official said, adding, “The downpours of these days are also a source of worry.”

Meanwhile, the JA business branch of Kagoshima Prefecture has revised downward its forecast yields of pumpkin and watermelon. As watermelon fails to grow large in waterlogged soil, its yield is expected to fall by as much as half the usual amount in some areas, it said.

Although continued unstable weather may push up consumer prices of these vegetables, Aeon Co. expects to draw no major impact in terms of prices at its nationwide supermarket chain, as it has taken countermeasures to price swings caused by weather conditions, its representative said.

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