Environment & Health Hong Kong

Frost killing crops in the New Territories as farmers warn of food price rises

Farmers have been affected by frost forming in parts of the New Territories. Low temperatures combined with high humidity have led to the formation of frost as temperatures plummeted across the city.

At Ta Kwu Ling in the North District, farmer Wong Bak told Apple Daily that Tuesday morning was the first time frost had appeared this year. He said it had caused some of the tomatoes, chayote, and pumpkins he grows to die.

frost

Photo: Apple Daily.

If calculated with the price of HK$10 per catty of vegetables, he has lost about HK$10,000 worth, he said.

Using a thermometer, an Apple Daily reporter noted that the temperature at 7am on Tuesday stood at minus 0.6 degrees Celsius at nearby Loi Tung Tsuen.

In the area, cars were spotted with their windscreens coated in frost. A Mr. Lui poured water on his windscreen and wiped it with his hands to defrost it, saying his wipers had frozen over.

Wong Tsat-tai, president of a new territories agricultural association, said it was rare to have a cold snap lasting several weeks.

frost

Photo: Apple Daily.

She said she had lost about 30 to 40 per cent of the vegetables she planted last month.

“Pretty much all of the chayote and spaghetti squash [also known as shark fin melon] have frozen and died, the ones that are left cannot grow fast enough because it’s too cold.”

She said the price of vegetables may rise dramatically if the crops that intended for harvest before the Lunar New Year cannot grow fast enough to be sold.

According to Sing Tao Daily, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Imported Vegetable Wholesale Merchants Association said that the mainland was also affected by the cold. Combined with farmers going back to their hometowns for the holidays, Hong Kong has received 30 per cent less produce.

frost

Photo: Apple Daily. 

The spokesperson predicted that the price of vegetables will continue to rise by 30 to 50 per cent before the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, temperatures at Tai Mo Shan – which according to the Observatory is the coldest place in Hong Kong – stood at 0.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday morning.

The Observatory forecasts the weather to be cold on Thursday morning and predicted that the temperature and humidity will rise as the weekend approaches. It will be cold again early next week.

Frost killing crops in the New Territories as farmers warn of food price rises