Pro Agro: More expensive thermal energy drives price of vegetables up 50 pc


Leoser, which provides 30,000 tons of vegetables to the local and foreign markets might go out of business.

The 40 pc price increase of the price charged for one gigacalorie in Bucharest, starting January 1st, will drive the prices of tomatoes and other vegetables produced in Romania up 50 pc and will force some producers out of business, such an example being Leoser, which lays off 2,000 employees, the Pro Agro federation of producers announced, quoted by Mediafax. “The farmers that use the thermal energy generated by RADET begin to restrict their operations and prepare to operate the first layoffs because of too high production costs. Worst hit by the price hike is Europe’s biggest producer of vegetables in greenhouses, LEOSER SA, member of the PRO AGRO federation and of the producers’ association HORTIFRUCT, the only organisation of agricultural producers in Romania recognised by the EU,” the federation warns in a communique.
At the end of last year, Pro Agro demanded that the operators of greenhouses for vegetables in Romania benefit from the support granted in other states of the EU, where a differentiated price of thermal energy is in effect for farmers, but talks with the general mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, gave no result and the price increase was operated on January 1, adds the source. In these conditions, some greenhouses will stop their operations and will lay off their employees, the president of Pro Agro, Alex Jurconi warned.
Leoser, which operates on a surface of 90 hectares and provides over 30,000 tons of vegetables to the local and foreign markets, will stop its production. “In a member country of the EU, the national regulatory institutions should have consulted long ago the business environment, before making a decision with such an important economic impact. We fulfilled without delay our obligations to the Romanian state, but were completely cancelled our right to being consulted. As a consequence, we decided to completely close the unit. 2,000 employees will lose their jobs at the middle of winter. At this moment, we cannot compete with the subsidised vegetables of other producing countries, such as Turkey. We request the prime minister to immediately start a dialogue in view of finding a solution,” the general manager of Leoser, Victor Nitu stated.
Mayor Sorin Oprescu said in December that he will seek solutions to help the agricultural producers which operate the greenhouses that supply vegetables to the Bucharest market, so they are not driven out of business by the increase of the price for the thermal energy, in effect for the economic agents of Bucharest. Oprescu added that he understood the problems of greenhouse owners and will seek a solution at the beginning of 2014.
With this regard, the mayor would need a decision passed by the General Council of the Bucharest Municipality and another “at central level.” Oprescu also mentioned that he reached an agreement on this respect with the minister of Agriculture, Daniel Constantin.

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