Both the experts in the field and the authorities have given assurances that, at present, Romania is not facing the risk a food crisis.
Following the world health crisis caused by COVID-19, experts are now discussing the risk of a food crisis caused by the skyrocketing prices and the lack of support for farmers. Employers’ associations and trade unions in the food industry, however, have given assurances that Romania is not running the risk of a food crisis. The president of the National Federation of the Food Industry Trade Unions, Dragoş Frumosu, explained to Radio Romania that the adoption of measures to cap food prices, as is being discussed these days in Bucharest, would endanger food supply to the population and would stimulate manipulation of the market.
Dragoş Frumosu: “I believe that a measure to rationalize some staples would be a very big mistake, because, firstly, it would create a lot of panic and, secondly, it would make people buy more, and, consequently, we would end up by wasting food."
Food producers ask for stability, predictability and support from decision-makers in order to continue their activity, given the increase in energy and gas bills and in the price of raw materials. The agriculture minister, Adrian Chesnoiu, excludes a food crisis in Romania, and the rationalization of food. He says that solutions are being sought to support both citizens and farmers.
Adrian Chesnoiu: “We are analyzing several methods of intervention to support the producer, on the one hand, and the citizen, on the other hand. We are discussing and analyzing solutions to help Romanians obtain their daily basket, we are analyzing the impact, in the sense of assessing whether you can go for capping the prices or for stabilizing and balancing the price by distribution links".
In turn, the president of the National Liberal Party (in the governing coalition) Florin Cîţu, claims that a possible capping of food prices will lead to poverty because no producer will want to invest in an industry where prices are capped, and Romania is not going in that direction. The Social Democratic Party - PSD, a partner in the coalition, has a different opinion. They propose capping prices for staples for a limited period, based on the energy and gas model. Nevertheless, the PSD president, Marcel Ciolacu, says that a final decision will be made by the Government after discussions with the producers and traders.
At European level, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the EU is already taking steps to ensure that European citizens will not face food shortages during crises. At the end of last year, the European Commission adopted the Contingency Plan for Food Supply and Food Security and announced that it would set up a European Food Security Crisis Preparedness and Response Mechanism. (LS)