Virus: onset of fever on the price of fresh produce in Europe

Virus: poussée de fièvre sur les prix des produits frais en Europe

Virus: poussée de fièvre sur les prix des produits frais en Europe

A woman in an outdoor market in Turin, Italy.

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May 6, 2020 19h52

Updated at 22h56

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Virus: onset of fever on the price of fresh produce in Europe

AFP

Agence France-Presse

FRANKFURT — Fruits, vegetables, meats… As we walk down the aisles of his supermarket in the district, in Frankfurt, Nathalie, age 54, went to the obvious : his grocery bill has jumped in a few weeks.

Since the beginning of the pandemic coronavirus, “the peppers have become very expensive,” says this office worker German.

As it, consumers of several european countries are facing an increase in the price of fresh produce on market stalls.

At issue : the restrictive measures against the pandemic, imposed everywhere on the continent, which complicates the production, slowing down the supply, and increasing demand.

In Germany, the price of fresh produce has increased by almost 10 % in April from a year earlier, according to the accounting firm of agricultural markets FRIEND.

Vegetables are particularly affected, with an increase of almost 30 %, pulled up by the price of broccoli and cauliflower from Spain and France.

In this country, the association UFC que choisir reported an increase of 9 % in the price of fruit and vegetables, on average, since the beginning of the containment measures, in mid-march.

In Poland, where the farmers must also cope with a severe drought, the price of apples, for example, has doubled in a year.

“Every day, the prices increase,” says Grazyna, a retired Polish, choosing from pork chops in a supermarket in Warsaw.

Supply

This increase is mainly due to the border closure, which prevents the arrival of a seasonal workforce sufficient for the crop in the producing countries, and increases the difficulties of international procurement.

“It became much more difficult to move a product from one country to another,” says Kristjan Bragason general secretary of the european trade union of agriculture Effat.

The prices are drawn upwards by an increase in the overall demand for fresh products, while the closure of restaurants, cafes and canteens pushes the Europeans to cook at home.

In Italy, oranges and lemons are widely acclaimed by the consumers, looking for products that are high in vitamin C to enhance their immune system, reports the Italian daily Il Messagero.

In Greece, the sales of the kiwi and lemon are up also.

Eat local

In some countries, on the contrary, the producers and distributors have largely cashed the rising costs, to avoid the impact on the selling price to consumers.

This is the case in Spain, the “care-to-eat of Europe”, where, according to the ministry of Agriculture, these costs have not been reflected significantly on consumer prices.

“At the beginning, the prices were a little shot up, but now they are, again, almost like before,” says Jesus Hernandez, who runs a kiosk of fruits and vegetables in the market Cebeda, the most famous of Madrid.

Same thing in Britain, where there has been no for the time being “of significant price increases”, according to the British Retail Consortium.

In other european countries, authorities and professional organisations have called on their citizens ‘ patriotism culinary to help farmers deal with rising costs.

In Poland, the minister of Agriculture of poland Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, has encouraged his fellow citizens to eat local to support the producers in the country.

In France, “the fruits and vegetables are more expensive because they are the fruits and vegetables to French,” said Christiane Lambert, president of the first agricultural union FNSEA.

An injunction that “eating local” taken to the word by some consumers. They take the pretext of containment to be put in the garden themselves.

This is the case of Mariana Arandjelovic, a resident of Frankfurt, which has expanded in recent weeks the size of her vegetable garden, planting potatoes, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes.

“I am doubted as early as march that the prices were going to increase,” she says to AFP.

Now, it looks at least the price tags in supermarkets, that the weather, which will determine the fate of the harvest to come.

Le Soleil

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