Caused by pandemic

Japan: Growers struggle with vegetable oversupply & tumbling prices

Japan's third wave of COVID-19 infections has subdued traditional end-of-year activities. This means consumption is down and prices for farm produce have tumbled due to oversupply, and the effects of the pandemic are being felt by those in the primary sector as well.

At the Miura Biomass Center, in the city of Miura in Kanagawa Prefecture, disposed produce from farms in the local area is brought in, to be turned into fertilizer.

Some 395 tons of produce was brought into the center in November, dwarfing the approximately 220 tons recorded in the same month in 2019. Shigeo Kato, managing director at the center, told the Mainichi Shimbun: "At this rate, December looks like it's going to reach close to 1,000 tons. Even with our employees working overtime until 9 p.m. every day, we just end up with a mountain of around the same size the next day."

The large-scale dumping of radish stocks is closely related to falling prices of vegetables in general. A survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries held between Dec. 7 and 9 on 470 shops nationwide found steep falls; daikon radishes were down to 73% of their average price in a normal year, napa cabbage had fallen to 65%, and lettuce was down 50%.

The falling prices are being attributed to the effects of favorable weather in the autumn and a fall in demand due to people refraining from eating out as a result of infections spreading. This situation has spurred the current oversupply.

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