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China takes action to halt produce price slump

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BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government announced Tuesday that it has launched an emergency program to protect farmers from produce price slumps and stabilize the produce market.

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement on its website that local authorities are being urged to take measures to help farmers sell produce after a large harvest brought down vegetable prices in many areas of China, including the national capital of Beijing.

Produce is being sold at surprisingly low prices in some regions, causing huge losses for farmers. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), the average prices for 18 types of vegetables plunged 9.8 percent from April 11 to 17.

Local authorities should encourage large supermarkets to directly purchase produce from farmers to keep prices at reasonable levels and set up special sales counters for vegetables that have faced price slumps, according to the MOC statement.

The ministry also encourages cuts for marketplace booth fees to aid farmers who have suffered from the price drops, and has asked companies to build temporary reserves for vegetables that have been affected by the price cuts, according to the MOC statement.

The ministry has called for enhanced price monitoring and improved communication between farmers and produce dealers.

Local governments should establish a long-term system that protects the interests of farmers and fulfills demands for produce, said the statement.

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