The latest news of cross-border truckers being tested positive for COVID19 caused new price hikes for fresh vegetables here in Hong Kong. This is in addition to the cancellation of long-haul cargo flights by Cathay Pacific just a few weeks back, dealing an additional blow to the already vulnerable food supply of the city.
Hong Kong imports 95% of the food we eat and this lifeline for the city is maintained by sea, air and land transportation – 92% of the vegetable we eat comes from China and we depend on some 100 trucks to bring in these greens daily. As free market rules the city, prices of vegetables have increased from 43% to 194%. This is reminiscent of the food shortage we witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic, when the shelves were laid bare.
In this interview on Backchat, I share my views on the vulnerability of our urban food system, the opportunity to address food security during times of COVID19, drawing on examples of neighboring major cities such as Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing, and to talk of the possibilities of including urban farming as part of our future.