Prices of agricultural and fish products are skyrocketing due to the unprecedented harsh weather that has rattled the country the last few months.
And with a strong demand for raw produce ahead of Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving… the average price of fresh food hit a six-year high in August.
According to Statistics Korea, seafood prices increased 10.5 percent year-on-year, fresh fruit by 17.2 and vegetables by 24.7 percent.
Overall, the price of fresh food surged by 20 percent on average compared to the same period last year.
[Reporter : ] "Given such high prices of agricultural products, direct-selling farmers' markets are gaining a large popularity from customers."
As part of the government's efforts to ease financial burdens for the public over 2,500 farmers' markets are set to offer low-cost fresh food directly to customers throughout this week eliminating the in-between retailers.
At Seoul Express Bus Terminal, a six-day farmers' market kicked off Tuesday, attracting hundreds of thrifty customers.
Waiting in long lines was not a problem when fresh meat, fish and various vegetables were sold at discounts of 20 to 50 percent.
[Interview : Hong Ji-woo, Customer ] "I thought fresh food would be expensive this year, but here it's really cheap so I strongly recommend that others buy food here, too."
Seoulites also flocked to the Central Government Complex, where another farmers' market took place.
The minister of public administration and security, Maeng Hyung-Kyu, was present to encourage the sellers and buyers.
Low-cost, high-quality produce is also available in many other provinces outside of Seoul.
In Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, for instance, three small-scale farmers' markets were held simultaneously in different locations on Wednesday offering high-quality indigenous products.
[Interview : ] "We are offering fresh regional farm products at low prices in hopes of helping customers enjoy their holiday without financial stress."
By providing good food items at low prices, the farmers' markets are expected to bring mutual benefits to both the farmers and customers and further contribute to the country's overall consumer price control.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.