Gov’t taking aim against vegetable dumping prices

Russian embargo has led to surpluses, falling prices of some produce

Olomouc, North Moravia/Prague, Oct 2 (ČTK) — The first consignments of vegetables for dumping prices are heading for the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Zeman, the head of the Czech Vegetable Growers Association, said in Olomouc.

Polish growers have supplied cabbage for dumping price to Czech growers in the Ostrava region in the north of Moravia, which is deforming their prices, Zeman said on the opening of an international gardening exhibition and trade fair, Flora.

The dumping price of Polish cabbage is around 2 Kč per kg while Czech growers calculated the price at between 3 Kč and 3.5 Kč per kg.

Prices of vegetables have decreased by 20 percent in the Czech Republic following the embargo on food imports to Russia, according to Zeman.

A drop in prices due to a surplus of products may be foreseen for cabbage, onions and carrots.

“The EU is providing compensation for disposing (of surplus vegetables) but the question is to what extent it is sufficient,” said Zeman.

“It may happen that … some states will decide to get rid of surplus vegetable by plowing them and others may try to sell them at all costs,” Zeman added.

Retail chains are taking advantage of the price falls at talks with fruit and vegetable suppliers, according to him.

A new government measure should prevent the import of food to the country at dumping prices. Importers will have to inform the control authorities about the arrival of goods at least two days before they start to sell them. The reporting duty also includes the expected price of products. The measure applies to selected types of fresh fruit and vegetables and to consuming potatoes.

Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) told ČTK that the measure will take effect the next week after it is published in the Collection of Laws.

According to an estimate by the Agriculture Ministry, domestic exporters of agricultural commodities and food products will lose between 250 million Kč and Kc300 million Kč in sales due to the embargo.

Indirect impacts involving import of surplus goods from other countries may be worth up to 1.5 billion Kč.

The ministry wants to launch a 50 million Kč campaign in the middle of October in order to boost sales of domestic food products.

On Tuesday, the EU announced a new aid package of around 4.5 billion Kč to fruit and vegetables growers hit by the Russian sanctions. Jurečka said the measure will help ease the price fall and stabilize the EU market.

As of Friday animal food importers will have to inform the State Veterinary Administration (SVS) about the arrival of goods two days before they get them (current practice is 24 hours). Importers will also have to state the price, which is a new duty. The government measure was published in the Collection of Laws today and it takes effect on Friday, SVS said.

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