Vegetable prices on Okinawa soar in wake of mainland floods
Prices of fresh vegetables on Okinawa have recently climbed up to almost twice the level usual this time of the year.
Officials in the agriculture business put the blame on the two consecutive typhoons, Mindulle and Lionrock, that hit Hokkaido a week apart in late August, and heavy, long-lasting rains that caused heavy floods in areas of mainland Japan that are the main producers of green vegetables, causing supply shortages. Officials say that the shortages are likely to last through the end of November.
On Oct. 25 at a supermarket in Naha, a head of lettuce was priced over ¥400. According to officials at Okinawa Prefectural Produce Wholesale Market, lettuce was priced at ¥478/kg that is about 1.8 times higher than usual, Cabbage was ¥333/kg that is 1.9 times higher, and spinach cost ¥1,620/kg, 1.8 times the normal price. Carrots from Hokkaido cost ¥354/kg, which is 2.4 times higher.
Consumers on remote islands of Okinawa Prefecture are especially hard hit by price hikes. On Minami Daito Island a head of lettuce sold for ¥1,350 on Oct. 10th when it usually is ¥300~¥400 on the island.
Local supermarkets have started selling vegetables packaged in a quarter of the normal size as the prices are high and housewives are cutting back on consumption. They have also increased offering them precut in packages.