This year, a prolonged drought and heat waves in the south of China have reduced the harvest of matsutake mushrooms, which has caused prices to soar. Traders were expecting matsutake prices to start falling towards the end of August, when large quantities of lesser quality mushrooms hit the market. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, some production bases in Yunnan – the southwest Chinese province that accounts for a third of China’s matsutake production and around 70% of exports – have seen the harvest drop by up to 90% this year. Scientists attribute the scarcity to climate change, with huge swathes of China affected by the worst heat wave in 60 years.