Romanians pay for food on average 40 percent less than consumers in other European Union member states . However, they buy fruit and vegetables at higher prices, as most of the supply on the Romanian market comes from imports. According to Romania’s Competition Council, this is due to the fact that local producers lack the capabilities to meet the demand of the Romanian market.
“One of the major issues that concern for member states regards the prices. It is noted that on the one hand there are high prices for consumers and, on the other hand, they are small for farmers. It is a matter of great and serious concern,” Competition Council representative Dragos Vasile said in a press conference.
According to him, the Competition Council analysed the market and concluded that in Romania prices are lower than the European average. “It has been noted, among other things, that the rise in food prices is below European Union level and at present our prices are about 60 percent of the European average, which is a good situation,” he said.
The Competition Officer recalled that the institution he represents does not assess the price increase in general, but looks at specific cases, which may raise questions about a possible violation of the competition rules.
“An interesting problem is also related to the pressure of imported foodstuffs. It has been noted that there are categories where there is no pressure from imports, for example for milk, meat, wine, bread, meat. There is a category where most of the supply is imported, such as vegetables and fruits, while prices are higher than they would be for Romanian products,” Vasile said.
According to Vasile, one of the causes is the Romanian farmers’ lack of necessary equipment.
“What are the explanations? Some retailers’ surveys show that the Romanian producers still do not have the capacity to meet some commercial standards, as they lack sorting, calibration tools, have no storage capabilities, all of which can of course be corrected in time by increasing workers’ ability to meet certain technical standards,” said the competition authority’s representative.