mandag 8. november 2021

China food security: Beijing residents stock up on cabbages for winter after warning triggers panic buying

Older residents in Beijing recently stocked up on cabbage, giving a tradition a new lease of life after the government advised people to keep enough basic goods at home in case of emergencies. People have for years bought dozens of large cabbages, which can be kept fresh for months and are widely used in local cuisine, in early November to see them through freezing winters. A government notice issued last Monday advising households to stock up on daily necessities and a snow forecast reinforced the rush this year, with long early morning queues forming outside supermarkets in downtown Beijing last week.

“Every year at this time the [cabbage] sales volume is high. But after the report came out, everyone rushed to buy even more,” said Jia Jinzhi, a grower who sells cabbage at Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market.

Supermarkets capped sales at three cabbages per person, but even then, shoppers arriving after 9am left empty-handed. The bright green cabbages, known as Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage, used to be piled high in backyards, in block of flats hallways or even in home-made shelters dug underground, with neighbours striving to outdo each other on the size of their cabbage stocks.