The price of buckwheat started going up again in Russia. It could indicate that there was a shortage of this popular Russian cereal but the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) sees no reason to panic and “no signs that buckwheat is in short supply.”
It’s all because of the weather
The National Union of Agricultural Insurers (NAAI) also commented on the buckwheat price increase. According to its experts, there was no objective reason for buckwheat shortages in Russia. However, the NAAI suggested that the extremely dry weather in some regions of the Urals and Volga region might have been one of the reasons for the product price increase.
Irina Glazunova, Deputy CEO of the Agrarian Market Institute, said that the recent growth of buckwheat prices could have been caused by a short-term supply shortage. According to Glazunova, last year's buckwheat crop has been already processed and the new crop is just arriving at the plants. “However, fresh buckwheat will come in the market in the coming weeks, and prices should stabilize,” Glazunova said reassuring consumers.
Meanwhile, according to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat,) Russia has seen a record-breaking rise in the price of oat flakes. For example, oatmeal rose in retail up to 80.5 ($1.14) rubles/kg in August, and prices increased to 80.9 ($1.15) rubles/kg in September. Oat flakes prices exceeded 80 ($1.13) rubles/kg for the first time since 2000. Moreover, this price rise led to an increase in prices in stores for oatmeal, including instant oat flakes, the cost of which grew on average to 94 ($1.33) rubles/kg.
In addition to cereals, pork prices have risen in Russia. If the cost of cereals has increased due to weather factors, according to experts, the price increase of pork was caused by the African swine fever (ASF).
Yuri Kovalyov, CEO of the National Union of Pig Breeders, said that the situation with African swine fever in 2021 is the most serious for the past few years. To his thinking, despite the huge financial investments and control, it is impossible to exclude the human factor because of the high virus circulation.
“One employee of a livestock breeding complex forgot to wash hands, and the whole livestock is lost,” Kovalyov said. According to the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), there have been detected cases of fever among domestic pigs and wild boars in 35 Russian regions this year alone.
Pork production has already decreased in such a situation. Moreover, it is expected to decrease to the minimum values of 1.5-2% by the end of 2021. The cost of production has already increased by 15-20% since the beginning of the year. Consumer demand for pork is growing, but there is no way to keep up with it now. All these factors have led to an increase in pork prices in stores by almost 13% since the beginning of the year.
There will be no shortages
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture said that no shortage was expected in any category of food products on the domestic market. In addition, the ministry knows the reasons why the current situation in the Russian food market occurred. Thus, Dmitry Patrushev, Head of the Ministry of Agriculture, underlined that there was “unusual” growth of prices for fruits, vegetables, and livestock products. According to Patrushev, natural disasters were the reason for the rise in the prices of vegetables. As for the rise in prices of livestock products, it was due to the growth of its cost, as well as animal diseases, the minister said.
To stabilize vegetable prices, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are working together on the transition of retail chains to direct contracts with producers. The agencies also promised to prevent a shortage of vegetables and provide Russians with their necessary supply.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that prices had risen due to the situation on foreign markets and post-crisis volatility. According to him, Russia is a participant in international economic life and cannot live in a closed-loop system.