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August 15, 2022
BUSINESS

Vegetable prices to double this month

Egg prices to drop in the coming month, Agric. Min says.

The price of vegetables will double this month on account of production glitches and unfavourable weather conditions, Cristian Rusu, director of the Hortifruct fruit and vegetable producers Association, said yesterday. Many countries have been affected by the inclement weather lately, which led to production breakdowns, and consequently, tight supplies, and a doubling in prices. Rusu said, while accompanying Agriculture Minister Stelian Fuia on a tour of the Popesti-Leordeni greenhouses.“The damages are reflected in the production costs. There will be a delay of at least one month of the Romanian vegetable production – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and others, and the price hike will be of 100 pc, as of now. Although importers know we have encountered problems and we sustained damages, they acted on prices,” Rusu said, who believes that once prices go up, they will stay as such throughout the year.The entire production cycle will be affected, March and April especially, yet, the entire year will be pushed back by between one and one and a half months. There are two kinds of losses: one generated by the unfavourable weather, the other by the decaying greenhouse infrastructure and an economic loss due to delays, the repairs and seed-related losses,” Rusu said, who added that there are 2300 hectares of vegetable greenhouses nationwide, of which at least 75-80 pc were affected by the cold snap in the first half of February. Sixty-five per cent of the 90 hectare Popesti-Leordeni greenhouse.“I don’t think prices will double exactly, we’ll see what will happen in the coming days. However, low supplies of lettuce and cucumbers are likely in March,” Agric. Min Stelian Fuia said in this turn, who believes that the rise in egg prices is generated by delivery chain breakdowns caused by new poultry growing regulations, yet he is hopeful prices will fell in the coming weeks given the ongoing egg supply. “Prices have stayed put at producer level. Last week, there were delivered 1.2 bln eggs. The price rise is circumstantial, weather-induced too, and food traders too know no more imported eggs are coming in for now, given the new welfare norms for egg-laying chickens, and so they are likely to have increased prices,” the Agric. Min said, adding that the price hikes appeared along the delivery chain, and insisting he would discuss the issue with Competition Council officials.“Supermarkets sometimes reach profit margins of 40 pc on foodstuffs, including eggs, more than the producer, considering the latter sell them for RON 0.35/apiece, compared with RON1.1 on the market. I nonetheless hope egg prices will fall in the coming weeks and the market will get adjusted,” Fuia said.Asked by journalists why it is that there are no eggs for sale in supermarkets, the minister answered he had no relevant information, yet he maintained there are eggs on the market, since the “chicken is not a factory that you close down, but a “living organism” that lays eggs,  While an Agriculture Ministry previous media release stated that the rise in egg prices was not caused by either dwindling production or high producer prices, it nonetheless gave no explanation on what might have triggered the increase. The institution however mentioned that the current cage system can no longer be in place since March 1 onward, according to a European directive.The poultry growing farmer association said chicken egg prices have risen 50 pc this week due to the EU stipulation preventing chicken growers from selling eggs until they upgrade the cages, which in turn led to a very tight supply and consequent higher egg prices.

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