While Shanghai and Beijing residents can hardly buy vegetables under lockdown, vegetable farmers are suffering great losses because they cannot sell vegetables.
Zhang is a farmer living in the suburbs 28 miles away from Beijing. He can not sell a large amount of lettuce and Chinese cabbage. The 78-year-old farmer told Radio France Internationale (RFI) that all vegetables had turned rotten in the fields.
He said, “Vegetables rotted in the fields can’t be exchanged for a penny! Whoever becomes a vegetable farmer is unfortunate.” He added, “I feed the chickens and ducks with these unsold vegetables.”
Due to the pandemic prevention measures, distributors could not reach the farms to collect vegetables. The farmer said the government did not let them sell their vegetables, and the wholesale market refused to accept their goods.
Even if the government allows it, the income from selling vegetables would hardly compensate for the shipping cost to the wholesale market in Beijing.
The young farmer further added that the government had restricted vegetable shipment from the farms to Shanghai, although her farm had not found any infected cases since April 1.
As for when these vegetables will be sold, she said that they were just waiting in vain. At the time, she said that all vegetable farmers were losing money.
According to the 78-year-old farmer Zhang, the epidemic in Beijing has cost vegetable farmers like him more than 10,000 yuan (around $1,500). He said, “If we had known this, we would not have grown vegetables. It’s not just this village, but the whole area is in a bad situation where they can’t sell. There is too much lettuce this year anyway.”
Watermelon farmers are also suffering financial loss. In May, nearly 20 melon farmers in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area asked the media for help. The lockdown has left their 1.5 million pounds of watermelon unharvested, shedding in the field. Not a single vendor could come in or go out.
Several farmers took a loan of 200,000 to 300,000 yuan (around $30,000 to $45,000) to grow watermelons. They are anxious as they might lose all their money.