Fruit and vegetable prices in Bulgaria up 50%
"Tomatoes last year reached 70 cents per kilo; now they stand at 1.40 Lev; potato prices are about the same, but pepper prices have also increased," said the president of the Bulgarian Association for Food Industries, Alexander Yotsev.
Bulgarian fruit and vegetable prices are expected to increase by 25% to 50%. Producers and retailers say that this is inevitable because of the hailstorms and floods, but also because of Russia's decision to ban the import of agricultural products from the EU and the U.S. While the effects of the damages caused by the weather are clear, the extent of the impact of the Russian embargo has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the new Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture, Vasil Grudev, requested an extraordinary meeting of the European Council to discuss measures to protect European producers.
At the moment, much of the produce in Bulgarian markets is foreign. Bulgarian tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers or aubergines are overshadowed by imports from Greece, Turkey and Macedonia. However, this is a long-time trend and cannot be blamed on the floods; it is the result of a poor quality and harvest, but adding Russia's import ban into the equation is most likely to result in increased imports from the EU and falling prices.
Against the backdrop of expensive and disappearing Bulgarian fruits and vegetables, food traders fear that imported agricultural products will flood the market and it will bring down prices. ■