[Anchor Lead]As the prices of eggs, potatoes, and other essential food items have soared over the past few months, the government and the retail industry have joined hands to keep the food costs down.[Pkg]400-kilogram crates of onions are moved with a forklift. A supermarket chain brought these onions directly from Hampyeong in southern Korea. The franchise eliminated intermediate expenses by cutting down the number of distribution steps from five to just two. The measure aims to lower the price of onions, which has increased sharply recently due to the severe drought.[Soundbite] Park Jang-dae (Retail Logistics Center) : "Labor costs are cut to allow farmers to work more easily and logistics costs are reduced to bring 8 to 10% savings in the total cost."Onions, potatoes, and radishes secured this way are sold to consumers at 20 to 30% lower prices.[Soundbite] Won Jeong-sun (Homemaker) : "I buy them when they're on sale and keep them in the refrigerator for a week."The price of squid has doubled since last year. The government has released stockpiled squids to control the price. Squids caught out in the open sea and frozen rock-solid spill out of a refrigerated warehouse. About 3,300 tons of squid, including the fishing companies' reserves, will be released to the market. The government's emergency measure came as this year's catch plunged 33% compared to the previous year. Eggs will also be subjected to price control, as avian flu has pushed up the prices of 30 eggs to 10,000 won, nearly 10 U.S. dollars. The government plans to import eggs from Thailand for the first time ever as early as next week and sell them at around 3,000 won per box of 30 eggs.
TagsKBS News Today