As widespread Covid restrictions cut off distribution channels and close markets, Chinese vegetable growers are ploughing their produce back into their fields or leaving it to rot. Thousands of tons of vegetables are unsold in central Henan province, one of the country’s top producing regions. It seems that farmers in northern Shandong province, another top growing region, are also unable to reach markets.

Despite massive protests, China has not relaxed restrictions on movement in many areas in response to record cases of the disease. The situation is exacerbated by a fragmented supply chain, where small farmers sell to middlemen who purchase for large wholesale markets in cities.

Many traders are unable to travel, restricted from leaving their homes and prevented from exiting motorways to reach rural areas or other cities. Now, markets in major cities like Handan, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang are all closed and growers in Shandong are also impacted.