Heat wave sends vegetable prices soaring

Then intense heat wave is pushing up the prices of vegetables throughout Japan as the heat causes the veggies to wilt and stop growing.

This has lead to a shortage of vegetables throughout Japan, causing prices to go up at all wholesale markets in Okinawa, too. Specifically, the wholesale price of cabbage and lettuce from mainland Japan has soared to twice the level of last year. Even okra is 50% up while hechima (dishcloth gourd) is 20% costlier even though both are grown on Okinawa.

Retail shops in Okinawa are responding by trying to sell produce cut in half size in order to induce hesitant customers to buy. According to Okinawa Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market Association, vegetable prices of produce imported to Okinawa from mainland Japan are 97% up for cabbage, 83% for lettuce and 74% for Chinese cabbage.

Vegetable crops in Japan are normally harvested just before the summer heat wave from the southern regions like Okinawa and Kyushu to Northern areas like Tohoku and Hokkaido. But May, which usually is the peak season for vegetable harvest in Tohoku or Hokkaido, there was a lack of sunlight and low temperatures that shortened the growing season this year.

The poor vegetable harvest in all of Japan has pushed vegetable prices up, and it also affects Okinawan produce, because mainland wholesaler are buying Okinawan products like okra, and that has pushed its price 50% higher than usual.

In addition Okinawa has also suffered from less rainfall than usual, and that has caused poorer than usual crop of hechima pushing its prices up.

According to JA Okinawa, there are many farmers who can’t water their crops because their wells have run dry. A lot of their produce are getting burned by the heat wave and can’t be shipped to customers.