Inflation’s new ally: How climate change is making your wallet thinner

Apples are on a display at Mapo Agricultural and Marine Products Market in Seoul's Mapo District, April 10. Yonhap

A recent surge in the price of apples and other popular fruit is heightening concerns over the adverse effects of climate change on inflation, which is on an upward trajectory again after easing toward the government’s 2 percent target goal.According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, apples topped the list in March among fruit marking a steep price increase from a year earlier.The year-on-year price hike of apples was 88.2 percent, a record high since 1980 when the government started compiling the relevant data.Prices of pears also surged year-on-year by an all-time high 87.8 percent, while those of tangerines went up 68.4 percent and peaches ticked up at 64.7 percent.These were among 18 popular fruits which collectively saw a 40.3 percent year-on-year increase in their prices.

Against this backdrop, prices of agricultural products advanced 20.5 percent year-on-year in March, and accounted for a 0.79 percentage point increase in the overall inflation that remained unchanged at 3.1 percent for the second month straight.The overall inflation bounced back after it was measured at 2.8 percent in January and fell below 3 percent for the first time since July 2023.“A noteworthy trait of these popular fruits is that they have been native to the climate in the Korean Peninsula,” said Yoon Tae-myung, a horticulture professor at Kyungpook National University.“Adverse weather conditions in recent years are dealing a blow to those native fruits, and in return, pulling up their prices as well as overall inflation.”The professor noted 69 percent of apple farms in North Gyeongsang Province suffered from climate change in 2023, stemming from colder-than-usual temperature in spring, heavy rainfall in summer and hail in fall. The province is the country’s top apple farming spot.In a separate study, Rural Development Administration (RDA) predicted the total size of apple farms will diminish by 8.57 percent to 39,000 hectares between 2024 and 2033.“The total size of these farms is equivalent to 4,000 football fields,” the RDA said, noting the amount of apples produced 토토사이트 will decrease to 485,000 tons from 502,000 tons over the cited period.

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