City takes steps to ensure food supplies

Ke Jiayun
Shanghai's commerce commission notes a 50 percent surge in online orders for fresh food in the city and various measures have been put in place to meet residents' demands.
Ke Jiayun

The city’s commissions of commerce and agriculture and rural affairs have taken various steps to ensure the supply of food and goods essential to daily life, the Shanghai government said on Wednesday.

Liu Min, deputy director of the commerce commission, said that there had been a 50 percent surge in online orders for fresh food in the city.

Every day, Shanghai residents make around 500,000 online orders for some 150 tons of pork and 500 tons of vegetables.

"To ensure supply, our commission cooperates with other related government departments as well as all districts to work out solutions,” said Liu. “We support enterprises to enhance their cooperation with food suppliers on purchase and restocking. We also support major e-commerce platforms to get vegetables from other provinces including Shandong, Yunnan and Fujian, which reaches a million tons a day on average. During peak periods, they restock the vegetables seven to eight times a day."

Liu said the commission helps enterprises work with farmers wholesale markets to find new suppliers and ensure abundant stock to sell to residents.

The commission also helps e-commerce companies gain fast pass access to the city with the assistance of local police and the transport authority.

About 70 percent of the staff at fresh product e-commerce platforms are on duty but the number of products in each order is double the usual and the delivery workload has tripled. 

"To solve this problem, the major e-commerce platforms are sharing their employees with catering enterprises. The number of shared employees has reached 1,500," said Liu.

As more people return to the city after the holiday break, the demand for vegetables is rising.

Ye Junping, deputy director of the agriculture and rural affairs commission, said it had increased the planting of vegetables with all agricultural zones fully using vacant land to grow vegetables.

It provides 15,000 tons of vegetable seed for local farmers. Already this month, some 30,000 mu (20 square kilometers) of land has been planted with vegetables. Now Shanghai has some 400,000 mu of vegetables on its fields with yields over 10 percent higher than in the same period last year.

Ye said almost 120 agricultural cooperatives, enterprises and production bases in the city's nine districts with an agricultural industry have launched delivery services. 

Some 3,000 tons of vegetables produced in the city go to local markets every day and prices are going down.

Ye said the commission's next steps will be strengthening coordination between the city and districts, fully implementing the responsibility system and ensuring the sources of vegetable supply.

To tackle the shortage of labor, the commission is encouraging government staff, Party members and volunteers to help with vegetable production.

District agriculture and rural affair authorities have been told to release production and sales information on their online public platforms. Details such as vegetable yield and planting area, the amount put onto the market and prices will be collected daily for analysis.

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