Over the week, cucumbers increased in price by 12.71 percent, having risen in price by 45 percent since the beginning of the year. There is no reason to call such a significant correction seasonal factors: last year, according to the statistical office, cucumber prices rose by only 20 percent over the same period. The rise in prices may be influenced, among other things, by high demand, does not exclude the deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Agrarian Food Policy and Environmental Management Elena Zlenko. At the same time, Oleg Nilov, the first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Agrarian Issues, links the jump in prices with inflated electricity tariffs. “Parliamentary newspaper” understood the situation.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and toilet paper
According to Rosstat, from January 31 to February 6, cucumber prices rose by 12.71 percent, having increased in price by more than 45 percent since the beginning of the year. The price of onions (+11.52%), tomatoes (+4.63%) and carrots (+2.95%) also increased. On average, prices for vegetables and fruits increased by 5.1 percent.
The increase in prices also affected bananas (+2.42%), potatoes (+1.97%), beets (+1.87%), apples (+1%) and white cabbage (+0.71%).
Among non-food products, toilet paper (+0.6%), matches (+0.5%), and laundry soap (+0.4%) did not escape the price increase.
In addition, there was an increase in fares for travel in public transport: prices for travel in a trolleybus on average across the country increased by 1.3 percent, in a tram – by 0.9 percent, and in a city bus – by 0.8 percent.
In total, over the week, consumer prices, according to Rosstat, increased by an average of 0.26 percent, and since the beginning of this month – by 0.22 percent.
Someone wanted a hand
To understand what makes up the rise in prices for cucumbers, it is necessary to study the entire production chain. The dynamics can be influenced, among other things, by high demand, and today Russian greenhouse farms cannot cope with the volumes of the corresponding demand. This was pointed out in a conversation with Parliamentary Newspaper by Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Agrarian Food Policy and Environmental Management Elena Zlenko.
“Logistics chains are changing. In order to understand the price, you need to study the entire chain, how this cucumber got on the counter: where did it come from, from which region, what are the transportation costs, how much did it cost to grow it. Chinese cucumber producers had low prices, who rent Russian plots and exploit our soil mercilessly and sell their products to chains at discount prices,” the senator explained.
If it is a cucumber from a greenhouse, normally grown, this is one economy, if it is of Chinese origin, another economy, and if it is a farm cucumber, then it will be more expensive by definition, the parliamentarian noted.
The chairman of the State Duma Committee on Labor, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs also drew attention to the cucumber anomaly Yaroslav Nilov. “The very fact of a seasonal rise in prices for this kind of fruit and vegetable products can still be explained by objective factors, but when the growth for the same cucumbers exceeds 50 percent (and this is not the limit – in stores and markets you can see a rise in prices by 100 percent, I personally observed this ), no factors are working here anymore,” the deputy noted in his Telegram channel.
“It looks too much like another price fix. Salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, buckwheat, now cucumbers… Is there an “agronomic failure” everywhere? This is unlikely, ”added the parliamentarian.
To clarify the circumstances, the head of the committee sent appeals to the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Too expensive electricity
His colleague and namesake, the first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Agrarian Issues, Oleg Nilov, links the jump in prices for cucumbers with inflated electricity tariffs. According to the politician, it is necessary to put things in order and to reason with the appetites of power engineers, as well as deal with dealers. Then there will be no problems with prices, including cucumbers.
The cost of electricity for vegetable growers who are engaged in greenhouse farming is 20-30 percent, Oleg Nilov pointed out. Electricity for farmers costs prohibitively much more than in industry, construction and transport, the deputy noted.
“The cost of electricity production in the Leningrad Region is 1 ruble per kilowatt per hour. Agrarians get it for almost 12 rubles,” the parliamentarian said in an interview with Parliamentary Newspaper.
This is not just the greed of power engineers, and this should also be considered by the FAS, the deputy urged. There are also resellers of products. A man in uniform should also work on them. Farmers produce a kilogram of bread, for example, for 10 rubles, and in stores it already costs 100 rubles, Oleg Nilov added.
At the same time, Aleksei Mayorov, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Agrarian Food Policy and Environmental Management, did not see anything alarming in the consumer sector. “It’s still a market. Seasonal factors also play a role here. So far, there are no grounds to unequivocally talk about some kind of trend, let’s see how the situation develops, ”the senator explained to Parliamentary Newspaper.