context: Wet weather across the north has not only disrupted crop production but also delayed vegetable supplies. Nationwide vegetable price surges are expected to continue until November when vegetables from the southern regions come onto the market.

Vegetable prices experienced a significant rise in October as heavy rains continue to lash the north. The average wholesale prices of the 28 most popular vegetables increased to 4.87 per kilo, 8.7 percent higher than at the end of September. The prices of cucumber, zucchini, white radish and spinach saw a 65.5 percent, 36.3 percent, 30.7 percent and 26.5 percent m-o-m increase respectively. Vegetables such as cabbage, potato and carrot which are easy to store and transport did not experience major price fluctuations.

Vegetable supplies in October heavily rely on production from the northern provinces. However, vegetable fields in major vegetable-producing regions in the north including Shandong, Shanxi, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia and Hebei are waterlogged due to consecutive days of rainfall. As it is impossible for ag machines and transport vehicles to operate in waterlogged fields, vegetable picking and some transport has relied on human labour, driving up harvest costs.

Nevertheless, high vegetable prices are only temporary as the supply delays resulted from slowdowns during the harvest (both growing and collecting) rather than production losses, says Zhang Jing 张晶 MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) vegetable market analyst. Vegetable production in the south will not be available in markets until at least November, so supply shortages are expected to remain for the rest of October.