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August 17, 2022
BUSINESS

Agriculture officials warn Romania getting closer to a ‘food crisis’

Staggering hikes of shelf prices. Milk and sugar cost over 60 pc more than this time last year.

Staggering rises were reported in shelf prices, as some staple food products ended up costing nearly twice in the course of the year, Realitatea.net reports. What is more worrying is the alarming warning issued by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture: “The hiking of prices while consumption is ebbing is a sign that we are slowly and steadily approaching what we anticipate will be a food crisis,” Adrian Radulescu, state secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, stated.

Thus, milk is 72 pc more expensive than its price last June, of RON 4.82. The paradox lies in the fact that producers haven’t hiked any prices in the course of the year. The price of cheese rose significantly, as well. Thus, cheese is 30 pc more expensive in the hypermarkets, while sugar costs 65 pc more. Even more worrying, while one would expect prices to ebb in summer, exactly the reverse is true in supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables are more expensive than in wintertime, although fresh harvests should, in theory, bring prices down. A case in point is potatoes, which, by the same token, are more expensive in the summertime than they were last winter. Thus, potatoes cost RON 2.19, compared to RON 1.75 in December 2010. “The current producer price for potatoes is under RON 1, farmers complain that they cannot get more than RON 0.8-0.9 for potatoes, and I fail to see how they end up costing RON 2 in the supermarkets,” Ioan Benea, the chairman of the Romanian Potato Producers Federation, stated. According to the National Institute of Statistics, fresh fruit prices were hiked, on average, by nearly 30 pc in the first half of the year, while potato prices rose by 35 pc. Even officials in the Ministry of Agriculture are perplexed by the prices. “Although prices were raised following the hiking of VAT, oddly enough, producer prices were not modified,” Adrian Radulescu, state secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, stated.

In late May the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Valeriu Tabara, gave assurances that Romania could never be faced with a food crisis.

On the other hand, according to Agriculture Minister, Romania’s wheat production could amount to 6.6 million tonnes in 2011, rising by over 15 pc compared to last year’s level, of 5.6 million tonnes.

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