KIEV - Foodstuff prices are skyrocketing in Ukraine on the eve of May holidays. Odessa residents were the first to respond to this situation: they staged a “foodstuff” protest rally in front of the townhall, Tass learnt on Friday at the police department of the Odessa Region. Residents expressed indignation at doubled prices for meat and milk.
A drop for meat prices, promised by the Ukrainian government in mid-March, has remained so far “an Easter fairy tale”. Meat producers refused to sell their goods at depressed prices, as the government demanded. Inspections of Ukrainian markets showed that slimy meat is put on counters at these prices, while fresh meat, as was the case in Soviet times, lies hidden under the counter. Markets in Zaporozhye, Odessa, Lvov, Uzhgorod, and Vinnitsa now sell one kilo of veal at five US dollars, while a kilo of pork or sirloin at six-seven dollars.
The Ukrainian government claimed that the meat market was grabbed by sharpsters, lining their pockets at the expense of producers and shoppers. According to Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, “the difference between wholesale and retail prices reaches up to 70-80 percent”. Following the Easter and May Day holidays, “the government intends to shake up second-hand dealers,” the government press service reported.
Peasants complain at rising costs of fodders, veterinarian control and leasing of cold storages. According to Ukrainian economist Andrei Yarmak, “if the government runs, in the future too, the meat industry by administrative methods, the crisis will plunge deeper”.
Agricultural producers refused to sell the State Reserve Committee meat below its production cost. The government granted a loan of 500 million grivnas (around 100 million dollars) to this state committee to purchase foodstuffs so as to beat down prices on the domestic market with interventions.