Via China Daily

Residents shop in a Wumart store for vegetables and other daily necessities. [Photo provided to]

As workers across China return from the Spring Festival travel rush, the Ministry of Commerce will step up efforts to relocate and replenish living materials in major cities, said an official during a press conference on Sunday.

Wang Bin, deputy director of the ministry’s department of market operation and consumption promotion, said that with workers returning to cities and current surging demands, the MOC will further guarantee market supplies in key regions.

Through the co-supply cooperative mechanism among nine provinces, the ministry will continue to solve the problems in every logistics links, resolve employee shortages, and ensure supplies of daily necessities.

Specifically, a total of 500 enterprises, including 400 manufacturing enterprises, 50 agricultural product wholesalers, 20 cross-regional backbone enterprises, 10 e-commerce platforms and 10 catering firms, are now fully prepared. Under the guidance of the MOC, their current stocks – an estimated 40,000 metric tons of supply including vegetable, meat, eggs, milk, and instant food, is ready to be relocated and delivered to cities in the face of an emergency.

Chen Da, deputy director of the department of trade at the National Development and Reform Commission, said that in the fight against the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic, the government will further enhance its relocate capacity, and guide local major enterprises on supporting market supply.

He noted that the NDRC will strictly ensure the smooth flow of important daily necessities. Specifically, the government will lay emphasis on resolve the logistics problems in the first and last kilometer of transportation, so that the relocation of daily necessities is unimpeded.

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Wang from the MOC said the ministry is further expanding the import of urgently needed materials. The government has increased port imports, enriched domestic reserves, and timely placed frozen pork in the national reserve.

According to the MOC, currently, daily necessities supply across the whole country is generally sufficient. However, shortages still lie in individual materials, such as face masks, fresh meet and disinfectants, in a few regions.

Wang said the MOC has organized the import of materials including face masks, protective clothing and protective glasses, to supplement domestic needs during the epidemic prevention and control period.

“We will also continue to strengthen market monitoring and early warning,” he added.

The MOC also noted that the daily necessity market in Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, is running smoothly, the inventory is basically stable, and the prices of daily necessities have fallen further.

The daily necessity supply situation in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, has been obviously improved. On Feb 7, the vegetable trading volume in the two major wholesale markets of Wuhan reached 3,000 tons, a substantial increase from the previous few days. In one of the markets, which owns more than 300 stalls, more than 70 percent of the vegetable merchants had resumed business.

In addition, the meat supply in the three major supermarkets in Wuhan can now meet the sales of five to 10 days. The dynamic inventory of vegetables there can meet the sales of around three days, which means that the vegetable supply continues when being sold.

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The Wuhan Municipal Government is promoting the gradual restoration of the farmers’ market operation, as well as the organization of open-air street markets. By Feb 8, there were 14 open-air street markets in operation, and the remaining markets were gradually opening, Wang said.