BUSINESS

Food prices to go up 5 pc

Agrostar: In the future, fight over global food resources will take severe forms and Romania will be only a market for expensive imported products, despite its huge potential.

Food prices will keep increasing, with a 3-5 pc hike being expected in the future, because of adverse weather conditions and the international context, officials of the ‘Agrostar’ Federation of Trade Unions in Agriculture warned Friday in a seminar, quoted by Mediafax. The union representatives also blame the future price evolutions on the Agriculture Ministry’s lack of a “coherent strategy” and want Minister Valeriu Tabara to resign.

“The Minister of Agriculture cannot directly intervene in regulating prices, but can do it through sectoral policies, which are completely missing now. They could take measures aimed at boosting investments and increasing the absorption rate of European funds,” said Niculae Stefan, president of Agrostar. He believes that the absence of an agricultural strategy worsens the situation of farmers and of the whole population, because of very high food prices.
“In the future, fight over global food resources will take severe forms and Romania will be only a market for expensive imported products, despite having a huge potential. The exaggerated optimism of Mr. Valeriu Tabara, who claims that Romania will be spared from food crisis, shows his lack of realism,” Stefan stated.

At the beginning of May, the president of the Romalimenta union, Sorin Minea announced that the prices of processed food products will go up by as much as 10-12 pc in the next 2-3 months. At that time, Minea said that prices already started to increase and nothing can be done to stop this evolution.

According to data provided by the National Statistics Institute (INS), annual inflation rose from 8.01 pc in March to 8.34 pc in April, reaching the peak of July 2008, with the monthly rate standing at 0.66 pc mainly driven by higher prices for electricity, potatoes, fresh fruit, sugar and cigarettes.

During January-April 2011, significant price hikes were registered by several food categories, such as potatoes (30 pc), fresh and canned vegetables (21.2 pc), and sugar (17.56 pc). In April, food products were 5.08 pc more expensive than at the end of last year.

BRD willing to finance up to 80 pc of subsidies granted to farmers

BRD bank Friday told Agrostar representatives that it is willing to finance up to 80 pc of state subsidies granted to farmers, with loans that will be repaid within a year.
Depending on the type of subsidy, the loans will be granted for one year at most, said a BRD official that could not unveil the interests charged for this type of loans, only saying that these will be subject to case-by-case negotiations. This year, subsidies amount to an approximate EUR 176 per hectare of farmland.

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