Coronavirus: Romania at odds over farmers' markets
A partial lockdown will apply in Romania starting today. Among other measures, vegetable markets will be closed. In the wake of fierce criticism from farmers, the government has announced plans to take a differentiated approach to applying the rules in the country's cities and municipalities - entirely to the approval of commentators.
Farmers pushed to the limit
The criticism of the government's decision to close vegetable markets is entirely justified, Jurnalul National believes:
“The fiercest and most well-founded reactions came from the National Federation of Food Industry Trade Unions (Sindalimenta), which pointed to the disastrous consequences of the government's measures for small producers and agricultural retailers. One of the consequences is that over time products will pass their sell-by date and no longer be sellable, leading to huge losses for farmers. They will no longer be able to earn enough to lead a decent life or till their fields in the spring to prepare for next year's crops. Exactly one year after a severe drought hit our country.”
Food prices are higher in supermarkets
Farmers' markets are vital to Romanians and must be protected, historian Marius Oprea urges on Mediafax:
“Because of the pandemic, the markets but not the supermarket chains are to be closed. In Western Europe there's nothing comparable to our markets full of agricultural products. There, everything is available at the supermarkets. ... Small farmers in particular are being hit by these measures. What's more, Romanians will also feel the impact on their wallets as these products are more expensive at supermarkets because most of them are imported. Onions from Poland, tomatoes from Holland, potatoes and beans from Egypt, etc. The law obliging large supermarket chains to offer at least 50 percent Romanian products has been secretly abolished.”