In China, the government’s call to local administration to ensure adequate food supplies in the winter season and encouraging the public to increase their stocks raised concerns.
The Ministry of Commerce on Monday morning asked local governments to stabilize prices for this winter and next spring and ensure the supply of daily essentials, including vegetables. The Chinese people were also encouraged to increase their stocks for daily necessities, for winter months, or for emergencies.
This statement is similar to the announcement in September, before the holiday week, asking local governments to ensure food supply and stable prices during the holiday. However, this new call has triggered speculation that the situation is linked to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, which has led to new lockdowns and travel restrictions after the problem has spread to half of the country’s regions.
The headline “Ministry of Commerce encourages people to increase stocks as necessary for their daily essential needs” on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, was viewed 17 million times on Tuesday. Some of the comments were that the food stockpiling call was related to plans for an attack on Taiwan. Some of the comments expressed concerns that extreme weather conditions are negatively affecting vegetable production and transportation.
Vegetable prices have already risen in recent weeks, and some cases even higher than meat prices. Heavy rains have flooded key production centers in the country’s north and caused flooding in Shandong’s most crucial production hub.