• Vegetable prices have risen sharply in China, becoming more expensive than meat at times.
  • The spike in prices is due to heavy rain in major growing regions and a jump in energy prices.
  • Agriculture officials have pledged a stable supply and say they will crack down on hoarding.

Vegetables have become so expensive in China recently that they are sometimes pricier than meat, sparking fears about food inflation in the country.

The sharp rise in prices is due to heavy rain destroying crops earlier this month in major growing regions and soaring coal prices fueling electricity prices, in turn making greenhouse farming and transportation costlier.

Wholesale vegetables are at their highest level since February, Bloomberg reported, citing data from the Ministry of Commerce. Cauliflower and broccoli are about 50% more expensive, while spinach prices jumped 157% in a four-week period to Oct. 22, Bloomberg added.

At Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market, a half-kilogram bag of lettuce or spinach cost as much as 8 yuan ($1.25) yesterday, the outlet noted. That's comparable to the same amount of pork priced at 8 to 10.5 Chinese yuan, while chicken was priced at 7 to 10 Chinese yuan.

The vegetable price surge is a hot topic among social media users. They have taken to reporting the prices of their vegetable hauls on Weibo and questioning if they should continue to eat vegetables.

"I didn't expect vegetarianism to be a luxurious lifestyle," commented camille108.

The price spike is so bad, China's agriculture ministry said it will crack down on hoarding and has pledged stable supply of vegetables, according to state broadcast station CCTV.

Beijing city officials have warned of higher prices in the weeks ahead as energy prices rise into the winter season, further bumping transport costs up, Reuters reported.

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