On Friday, some traders were trying to see what their customers could stand, Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula (KDU-ČSL) said. And how does the government plan to address the issue? According to the minister, an interministerial working group should deal with the disproportionate increase in food prices. It will meet for the first time on March 21 with new statistical data.
“We know that citizens are worried about high food prices, and we are actively addressing this issue. We aim to determine whether the price rise is only due to cost increases or whether there is a desire to increase prices and profits disproportionately throughout the chain,” Nekula told a press conference on Friday.
“Some retailers have been testing what customers will stand for. If – whether it is apples, onions – the trade markup is 100 or 200 percent, it is beyond the pale,” the minister said.
He then gave sugar mills as an example. “If they have increased the price of sugar by about six crores and the shops increase the price by 14 crores, then something is wrong here. It needs to be addressed,” he said.
Waiting for fresh data
The minister said an interministerial group would be set up to investigate the issue. It will be headed by the Agriculture Ministry and include finance, industry, and trade representatives.
“The first meeting will be on March 21. We will have new data from the Czech Statistical Office for February, so that we will discuss the new figures. And we will look for solutions to address the issue of high food prices and remedy the situation,” he said.
At the same time, he also said that they would behave pretty. They want to ensure everyone “treats customers fairly and does not take advantage of the situation.”
The Czech Republic is plagued by high inflation, much of which food prices contribute to. Rice, for example, has risen by 31.9 percent in a year, flour by 36.1 percent, pork by 31.1 percent, semi-skimmed long-life milk by 39.5 percent, eggs by 95.2%, and sugar by 75.1 percent.