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Grocery prices at retail stores soar by more than 6% y/y ahead of Chuseok holiday Updated: 2020-09-15 06:00:03 KST

An orchard owner in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do Province says its been a poor harvest this season.
Usually at this time of the year, he has to hire apple-pickers to help, but this year, its just him and his mother.
Heavy rain and strong winds toppled trees … and wet, humid conditions led to a common fruit disease, leaving the family with few apples to sell for the Chuseok holiday.

"Usually, one box is enough to collect damaged apples, but this season we've collected 10 boxes … and we don't know how many more to expect. It's been a tough year."

Farmers' profits have dropped due to crop losses… but the impact is also being felt in the country's stores and markets.

"This year's long monsoon season and a series of typhoons have led prices of vegetables and fruits to spike … adding extra burden on consumers shopping for the upcoming Chuseok holiday."

According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, the average household is expected to spend 200 to 300 U.S. dollars to prepare for Chuseok.
Compared to last year, that's a four percent rise for shoppers at traditional markets and six.six percent for those at retail stores.

Vegetables are mostly taking the biggest bite of household budgets.
Radish prices saw a jump of 159 percent, and napa cabbage was up almost 150 percent.
Other essentials for the holiday feast, such as chestnuts and apples are also at sky-high prices this year.

"While shopping for Chuseok varies depending on each household …this year we expect to see about a 20 to 30 percent increase in expenses."

In a bid to stabilize prices, the government plans to increase food supplies of the 10 most popular Chuseok commodities, including beef and pork.
Starting Wednesday, for two weeks, six-thousand tons of food will be supplied per day … to meet a total of 88-thousand tons.
Even with these government efforts, Chuseok could be more expensive for consumers this year.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News.
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