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Beijing strives to ensure stable food supply
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The vegetable prices in Beijing have dropped markedly because of the preferential measures the government has taken to allow trucks carrying farm produce to enter the city after the vehicle ban on Sunday.

According to the farm produce price monitoring system developed by Xinhua News Agency, ten of the 13 vegetables monitored were cheaper this week. The price of spinach, tomatoes and radishes dropped by 20 percent as of Thursday, compared with that of last Tuesday.

"Cucumbers and tomatoes are one yuan a kilo now. They were three times higher at the beginning of this month,” said Wang Tianmin, 65, a retired worker in Chongwen District.

Since Sunday, half of Beijing’s 3.3 million cars have been banned on alternate days depending on their licence plate number from July 20 to Sept. 20. Many people are worried that it would have a negative impact on the logistics industry and drive up food prices during the Olympics.

Meanwhile, from July 1 to September 20, vehicles that fail to meet the European No. 1 standard for exhaust emissions as well as trucks registered outside Beijing without permits are barred from the city.

More than 70 percent of the trucks fail to meet the standard, said Zhou Zhengyu, deputy head of the committee, on Thursday.

To cope with the dilemma, those trucks which transport fresh farm produce to Beijing will be exempted from the ban.

"Those trucks carrying meat, eggs and dairy products do not need permits. What they carry are permits," Zhou said.

 Furthermore, a motorcade of 4,000 trucks from 178 transportation firms in Beijing will transport daily necessities under clients’request during the Olympics, according to the Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureau.

Price monitoring statistics and price tags in supermarkets have wiped out the fears of a price rise.

In Xinfadi market, the largest farm produce market in Beijing, trucks were queueing to unload the vegetables on Thursday morning.

"The daily turnover here is 8.7 million kg. The prices are a little higher than last year but are really stable,”said Liu Senghui, the market vice general manager.

The farm produce prices are expected to drop as more vegetable dealers get to know the preferential policy and transport their goods to Beijing, he said.

The major supermarkets in Beijing also have ample supplies.

"Our company increased purchases before the truck ban and the price is stable in all our stores,” said Huangli, a Wal-Mart public relation manager.

Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the city's planning body, has recently promised not to increase prices of any products during the Olympics to ensure a stable market.  

(Xinhua News Agency July 25.2008)

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