Sustained demand from abroad would make products less affordable in the domestic market
Spaniards are facing soaring prices for tomatoes and pork amid growing demand for foreign produce and geopolitical tensions, the Financial Times reported this week, citing the billionaire owner of Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona.
According to the businessman, who is ranked as the fourth richest person in Spain, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has weighed heavily on tomato prices as it has led to a sharp spike in natural gas prices, forcing farmers to stop growing vegetables in greenhouses in Northern Europe due to high heating costs.
As a result, buyers flocked to Spanish solar-powered growers, driving prices up from €1.39 per kilogram in January 2021 to €2.05 today.
“The cost has increased by 66 cents. We have increased prices by 50%,” Roig said, quoted by the newspaper.
“So we had two options: either buy tomatoes or leave customers without tomatoes. And we thought it was more important to have €2.05 tomatoes than not to have any.
According to Roig, the price of pork, vital for making Iberian ham, has soared due to strong demand from China, of which Spain is a major supplier.
“There are a billion Chinese” said the businessman. “How much did they ask for?” . . . I don’t know. What I know is that pork costs €1.05 [per kilogram in January 2021] and now it costs €1.96.
Earlier this week, the country’s national statistics institute (INE) reported that the consumer price index (CPI) for food stood at 16.6% in February, marking the highest level since 1994. This is despite the IVA (Spanish sales tax) reductions enacted in the previous month.
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