Food prices in Sichuan to spike post quake

15 May 2008 08:08  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--Sichuan province and other local areas may see a huge spike in food prices while rice supply may further tighten in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck the region on Monday, local official sources said on Thursday.

"The quake would affect local food supply as agricultural production in Sichuan province and Chongqing accounts for over 6% of the country’s total," said a source at Sichuan’s agriculture department.

However, it was too early to ascertain the impact on national food prices, the source added.

"The recent rice supply problems maybe exacerbated," an industry analyst added.

Meanwhile, chemicals producers in the province were facing energy and resource problems as power; transport and communication lines were still down.

Even the plants that had not been affected by the quake were finding it difficult to resume normal production, as transportation of materials was still a big problem, said some producers in Sichuan.

Pressure has been mounting on the rescue operators to hasten reconstruction work in the quake-hit areas as the death toll mounted to nearly 15,000 with another 25,788 still buried and a further 14,051 missing, reports said.

"It is very hard to reconstruct the roads in a short term on such a big-scale damage," said a local transport official.

Wenchuan, the epicentre of the 7.9-magnitude quake has seen massive damage and the roads leading to the county were still being repaired, the Ministry of Communications said but did not disclose when these would reopen.

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By: Dolly Wu
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