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February 3, 2023

Farmers warn about imminent food price rises

PM Boc yesterday met Agrostar president in an attempt to find solutions. Farmers waive responsibility for the 25-30 pc bread price rise expected by year end.

Basic food prices will continue to grow in the absence of investment in agriculture and while failing to draw EU funds, farmers’ federation Agrostar president Stefan Nicolae stated after talks with PM Emil Boc on Wednesday.

The farmers complained to the premier about difficulties they encounter when they apply for bank loans to co-finance projects implemented with European money.

‘One important item on the agenda were the European funds and investments in agriculture because, in this crisis year, if we do not draw European funding, if we do not attract investments in agriculture, we will be talking about price rises for many years from now on. Agriculture and prices are, in fact, closely related to investments made in the agri-food sector,’ Stefan Nicolae said, quoted by Agerpres. Agrostar-affiliated farmers urged the Government to pay them bigger per-hectare subsidies in the vegetal sector.

‘Strictly in connection with farming subsidies – and I mean here the per-hectare payment in the vegetal sector – I told the prime-minister that the proposed payment of EUR 131 – well, it has grown from EUR 80 what former minister Mr. Dumitru wanted it to be – will have to be negotiated, because we cannot agree to it. We knew we were going to receive EUR 160 and, if it does not get this money, the vegetal sector will be in quite big trouble. We also spoke to him about deficiencies with the diesel excise duty,’ Nicolae said.
The other matters addressed in the talks were the payments to the breeders of bovine and ovine animals.
At the same time, farmers are complaining about the major tax evasion in the food industry. ‘We also discussed tax evasion where we described for the PM the situation with the forged spirits on the market and the loss of major amounts by the budget’, the head of Agrostar detailed. The federation also voiced its opposition against the authorities’ intentions to scrap some departments of the Ministry of Agriculture. The RON 600 minimum wage is not enough to cover basic expenses. A simple calculation shows that almost RON 500 only covers the cost of food in a month. On the other hand, Nicolae Stefan claims ‘it is a false opinion that Romanian farmers are at the origin of price rises. Romanian farmers have obtained a real price for their wheat after 20 years, at last. ‘It is certain that prices will grow this year’, Stefan Nicolae also said. He further noted that, in order for prices to be kept under control, ‘we should have put that Best Practice Code into operation’. After seeing PM Emil Boc, the leader of the National Unionist Bloc, Dumitru Costin, said banks in Romania do not finance real economy, that being one of the reasons for which things are bad in agriculture. He said the PM had informed unions that, next week, he will hold a meeting with the central bank governor and with the banks in Romania to find ways to stimulate them to finance the economy.

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