As the Lunar New Year approaches the wet markets in Taiwan are bustling with activity as people shop for supplies for the celebrations.
Taiwan didn’t really have strict lockdown measures last year and even now when a Covid case is discovered anyone who has been in contact with the person is asked to come for a test. The measures are thorough but localised.
“The wet markets are very busy, there is no noticeable downturn on trade,” according to Andrew Grantham from Kingfisher International, who is based in Taiwan. “It is the same at the wholesale markets although there is a lot of local produce on sale as well Japanese and Korean imports. The Taiwanese traditionally buy a lot from these countries. The Japanese products such as apples and strawberries are very expensive and are perceived as being very high quality and safe. People also buy these products as gifts for the Lunar New Year celebrations.”
Japanese apples can cost as much as £70 for 12.
“In other Asian markets Malaysia for example, demand for expensive imported fruit and vegetables has decreased, this could be because of lockdown and people not being able to work so they have less income so they will choose the cheaper local products. Imported produce has also become more expensive for a variety of reason including higher shipping costs.”
Shipping rates from Asia to Europe and the US have increased and getting guaranteed space on a vessel is challenging. Customs inspections are taking longer at the ports due to staff shortage and Covid measures.
“The whole industry faces a variety of challenge at the moment, be it getting labour for harvesting, transport availability and rates or less demand for imported produce in the markets.