Prices for agricultural products in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region have run out of growth reserves. This opinion was expressed by Evgeny Bezhin, Director of the Center for Applied Research and Development at the Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg, in an interview with a REGNUM correspondent.
He recalled that the average prices of vegetables and fruits in January 2017 were initially lower than the prices of 2016 by about 20% due to the good harvest last year.
This spring, the Hydrometeorological Center recorded some of the lowest temperatures in history.
“Anomalously bad weather, a large amount of rainfall in the Northwestern Federal District and the Central Federal District led to the fact that the crop was not harvested at the time at which it was usually harvested. This led to a rather serious increase in prices in May and June. In principle, it can be seen from the dynamics reflected in the reports of the Federal State Statistics Service that, probably, there will be no more increase in prices, ”Bezhin said.
Recall, on July 19, Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev told President Vladimir Putin that harvest from the south of the country would significantly reduce prices.
“This is a socially significant story, so it’s not for nothing that Tkachev stated that prices are under control. Yes, there are delays in harvesting, but I don’t think that prices will increase even more, ”Bezhin added.
He noted that the first sharp jump in the value of agricultural products occurred at weeks 15 and 16 - in mid-March, when last year’s seasonal stocks ran out.
Meanwhile, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture has repeatedly mentioned the lack of vegetable storage capacities that could be filled in over-harvesting years. This would seriously affect future price retention.
“Last year there was a lot of harvest, but literally there was nowhere to store it, much remained right in the ground. As a result, this year we experienced a second jump in prices by mid-June - rapid growth was 60% compared to the corresponding weeks of 2016, ”Bezhin said.
In his opinion, the situation is now stabilizing. Rosstat data indicate that prices are still higher than last year, but their growth rate has slowed.
In June 2016, fruits and vegetables accounted for 20,6% of the cost structure of the minimum consumer basket, and in June 2017 - already 25,8%. This means that citizens, to afford them, save on other products.
“Most experts and market participants assess the situation quite normally, for example, Altai had a very hot June and the weather was good. Everything seems to be fine in the southern and southeastern zones, the governors report that the situation is good in a number of crops - buckwheat and potatoes, they are leaders and are catching up with the main agricultural regions - Krasnodar Territory, Belgorod Region and other regions of the agricultural warehouse. The situation from region to region is different, and yes, everything is not very good with the weather in the Northwest and the Central Federal District, but the main suppliers of agricultural products can generally correct the situation, ”Bezhin said.
We add that at the moment the average prices in St. Petersburg in different retail chains vary, the average cost of a kilogram of cucumbers is from 63 to 186 rubles, tomatoes - from 117 to 174 rubles, apples - from 115 to 134 rubles, beets - from 28 to 44 rubles, carrots - 50 rubles, young potatoes - from 30 to 50 rubles, last year's potatoes - from 57 to 64 rubles.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service, last year by July a kilogram of potato in the NWFD cost 32,2 rubles, carrots - 46 rubles.