By Michael Evans.
A Zhengzhou textile company last week bought 50 thousand kilograms of cabbage from local farmers, which they then distributed free of charge to local residents.
The gesture gained widespread attention as cabbage prices across China have plummeted in recent weeks, spelling disaster for farmers who depend on the crop for their livelihood.
As the China Daily reported last week:
The wholesale price of Chinese cabbage has fallen to as low as 0.12 yuan (2 US cents) a kilogram in North China, much to the dismay of the vegetable’s growers, according to the latest issue of China Times, a Beijing-based business weekly.
The retail price of the vegetable, which was 0.8 yuan per kilogram on Nov 4, has now bottomed out at about 0.3 yuan per kilogram.
Many farmers are choosing to let their crops rot in the field, as the cost of harvesting and transporting their cabbages would be higher than what they could sell them for. Some have offered their cabbages free of charge to any buyers willing to come to the fields and pick them themselves.
Experts blame the price drop on a rapid expansion of cabbage planting after a previous rise in the vegetable’s price. In May of this year, the retail price of cabbage in Shanghai rose to as much as 3 yuan (80 US cents) per kilogram.