Market, vegetables, cauliflower – illustration photo.
Olomouc – According to the Vegetable Union of Bohemia and Moravia (ZUČM), the significant increase in vegetable prices on domestic store shelves is related to the current situation on the common European market, which is struggling with smaller stocks from last year's harvest and limited production of fresh vegetables from greenhouses. At the same time, due to high inflation, the costs of growing and storing vegetables have increased for European greengrocers. “Due to low self-sufficiency, the Czech Republic is not one of the growing EU countries with an influence on price formation. Domestic growers cover only one-third of the consumption of vegetables in the Czech Republic,” the Vegetable Union told ČTK today, according to which vegetable prices will stabilize with the arrival of this year's new harvest.Advertisement'; }
The rise in vegetable prices picked up a significant pace at the beginning of this year. According to data from the State Agricultural Intervention Fund, wholesale prices of imported vegetables rose by tens of percent in the first weeks of this year. The price increase mainly concerns peppers, tomatoes and salad cucumbers.
According to ZUČM, the worldwide increase in vegetable prices is caused by several factors. “The first of them is the usual seasonal development, when the costs of storing vegetables and at the same time limited availability are reflected in the prices of vegetables. This development is intensified this year by the impact of the energy crisis, the extreme increase in the prices of agricultural inputs and the several-fold increase in interest rates and thus the cost of loans All this, together with the rise in labor prices, was directly reflected in the increase in the costs of growing and storing vegetables,” pointed out ZUČM.
According to ZUČM, the situation on the vegetable market was also negatively affected by the late capping of energy prices. Fearing the extreme price of energy, many growers decided to sell their vegetables directly in autumn instead of storing them. In the greenhouses, the greengrocers significantly reduced or completely suspended production in the winter. “This is currently showing smaller stocks and the volume of fresh fruit vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, is insufficient on the market,” said ZUČM. According to ZUČM, the extreme weather fluctuations that affected important production areas in Southern Europe, North Africa, India and China last year exacerbated the shortage of some types of vegetables on world markets as well.
The majority of domestic vegetable production goes to the market from spring until autumn. “In the winter and spring months, the import dependence is even more intensified due to the long-term insufficient investment in storage capacities,” pointed out ZUČM. Domestic greengrocers assume that the prices of most basic types of vegetables will gradually stabilize with the onset of the new harvest in the southern part of Europe, especially in Italy, Spain and Portugal. “However, we expect a significant change only with the arrival of the main harvest season during the summer for field vegetables. For covered areas, we expect a significant improvement in the situation already in the spring months,” the ZUČM comments.
To ensure a lower dependence of the Czech market on imports and according to ZUČM, long-term investments and stable support of the Czech vegetable industry and vegetables on the part of the state and consumers are necessary to ensure a sufficient amount of affordable domestic products.