Bratislava, July 24 (TASR) – Growth in food prices in Slovakia in June exceeded those of the other Visegrad Four countries (the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary), Michal Feik of the Agriculture Ministry stated on Wednesday, adding that even though businesses keep raising their prices, Slovak food producers are being forced to supply them with products at ever lower prices.
“Suppliers have been forced for a long time to lower their prices, which prevents them from investing in new technologies, adequately paying their employees and covering the increasing prices of commodities. We can see yet again that businesses are abusing their dominant position at the expense of consumers and suppliers,” stated Agriculture Minister Gabriela Maetcna (Slovak National Party/SNS).
Food prices in Slovakia grew by 0.5 percent in June. Poland saw a 0.4-percent increase, while prices in the Czech Republic went up by only 0.1 percent. In Hungary, prices actually dropped by 0.2 percent.
“Price rises are taking place despite the fact that several chain stores announced a few months ago that they’d be freezing or lowering their prices. Today, we know that these were only empty promises,” stated general manager of the ministry’s food industry and business section Milan Lapsansky.
According to the ministry, Slovaks are having to dig deeper into their pockets for pork and fruit, whose prices went up by 7 percent. The increase is significant even when compared to the EU as a whole, in which fruit prices increased by 0.7 percent.
The ministry wants to take a closer look at economically justified costs, as food suppliers often complain that business force them to sell their products at below cost. Should the ministry find that these practices are actually taking place, the businesses concerned will face sanctions.