BEIJING (Bloomberg): China’s strict Covid controls are leaving farmers with no option other than to destroy crops they can no longer sell, triggering concerns about food shortages and stirring outrage on social media.
Videos circulating online show farmers dumping healthy crops because they’re struggling to sell their harvest. Local and state media also reported that fields of vegetables are being destroyed in major producing regions such as Shandong and Henan provinces to make way for the sowing of the next crop.
The destruction of fresh food is happening at a time when many Chinese are under lockdown and bracing for food shortages and other supply disruptions.
It threatens to drive up food costs which are already elevated, and undercut Beijing’s push to safeguard food supply and eliminate waste. Protests against Covid curbs erupted over the weekend in cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
Vegetables like Chinese cabbages, radishes and spinach are being harvested across China right now but they’re getting stuck in rural areas. Trucks and merchants are either unwilling or cannot enter the villages to collect agricultural produce because of movement controls and quarantine orders.
Farmers’ Daily reported the difficulties in getting vegetables to market because of Covid restrictions. It cited Beijing’s Xinfadi market as saying that while farm prices of vegetables have slumped, retail costs have surged.
"Citizens want food, farmers want income, and farming seasons don’t wait for anyone,” the state-backed publication said. It urged authorities to reduce obstruction for vehicles transporting food products, "so that fresh vegetables from the fields can be served hot on the tables of thousands of households.”