The Ministry of Agriculture will lead an interdepartmental group on high food prices

The Ministry of Agriculture will lead an interdepartmental group on high food prices

Ministry of Agriculture to lead interdepartmental group on high food prices< /p> Illustrative photo – Building of the Ministry of Agriculture in Prague.

Prague – The Ministry of Agriculture will lead an interdepartmental group that will deal with high food prices. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, representatives of the Government Office and the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) will be included. Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula (KDU-ČSL) told journalists today. He stated that the group will meet for the first time on Tuesday, March 21, when the latest data from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) for February will be available.

Advertisement'; }

According to Nekula, the working group should discuss how to solve the problem of high food prices. He added that the government wants to make full use of all legal possibilities and the operation of supervisory bodies that fall under the ministries of agriculture, trade or finance. “It's about fully and aggressively pursuing all the options we have within our legal powers if we find that there's something wrong going on throughout the supply chain,” he said.

He emphasized that he wants to treat farmers, food businesses and traders equally. “We will demand that everyone treat customers decently and not abuse the current situation to increase their profits,” he added. He drew attention to the amendment to the Act on Significant Market Power, which allows a significantly larger number of entities to be penalized than was the case in the past. He stated that the government's legislative work plan includes an amendment to the Act on Prices.

Nekula announced at the end of February that the ministry filed a complaint with the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition due to the significant increase in the price of sugar in stores last fall. He also gave the initiative to the Czech Trade Inspectorate (ČOI) because of a discount campaign in the sale of sugar. According to him, the initiative concerned a situation where sugar krystal would be offered at a discount in the store for 33 CZK and the price without discount was 40 CZK, which, according to the minister, is not a discount, but the regular price. He sees it as deceiving the consumer.

Nekula said today that, according to him, ČOI first stated that it had not received the initiative and then the minister published it through the media. “There were various dances around it and that's why the interdepartmental group is being created,” he said. He added that a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, under which ČOI falls, should be in the group so that there are no cases where the inspection denies the suggestions it receives.

The trade inspection said last week that it would investigate , whether he can deal with the minister's initiative. First, it must evaluate whether it is competent to investigate the complaint and whether it relates to the Consumer Protection Act. He is looking for the current statement of the CTK inspection.

According to Eurostat, domestic food prices rose by 27.2 percent last year, and the Czech Republic was the sixth in the EU in terms of food price increases. According to an earlier statement by the Food Chamber in the Czech Republic, there is currently no room for reducing food prices due to the ever-increasing costs of production and processing enterprises. The Chamber believes that food prices could rise slightly this year and gradually stabilize in the second half of the year. According to the Food Chamber, costs for producers increased by 50 to 80 percent year-on-year last year.

The Czech Statistical Office announced today that the year-on-year growth of consumer prices in the Czech Republic slowed down from 17.5 percent in January to 16.7 percent this February. The prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages also had an influence on overall inflation, whose year-on-year growth moderated in February from January's 24.8 percent to 23.9 percent. In February, the prices of rice rose by 31.9 percent, flour by 36.1 percent, pork by 31.1 percent, semi-skimmed shelf life milk by 39.5 percent, eggs by 95.2 percent, margarine and other vegetable fats by 39, 8 percent and sugar by 75.1 percent. The opposition movements ANO and SPD accuse the government of not doing anything against rising prices and of underestimating inflation.