The prices of some Argentine basic products, such as onions and potatoes, have increased by up to 200%. According to Pedro Villarreal, an importer of fruits and vegetables, some people have taken advantage of the export sector.
"I can't speak for everybody, but there is a sector that takes a very large slice of the citizens' needs, and it is lining its pockets with that," he said.
"I have to admit that there is an increase in production costs, but not so much as to justify price hikes. In supermarkets, prices range from G. 15,000 to G. 16,000 per kilo. increasing a product's price by 200%, which isn't good," Villarreal said.
Villarreal also said he had spoken with the marketing authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture to reflect the real cost of imported products. He also stated that he was at the disposal of the Paraguayan Chamber of Supermarkets (Capasu) to seek a solution to this situation.
He also clarified that the prices of the Argentine products were increasing, mainly at the farms in the production areas, but that it didn't increase enough to raise it to G. 16,000 per kilo. He also said that local importers were not speculating with prices and that he didn't know where price increases came from.
"Supermarkets are not to blame"
The Minister of Agriculture, Rodolfo Friedmann, stated at a press conference that the supermarkets were not responsible for the increase in this type of product.
"I can't speak for everyone, but the documents we had access to showed us that supermarkets weren't the only party responsible for the increase in prices," he said.
The increases had a lot to do with supermarket suppliers, he said.
According to the data from the weekly monitoring report of the Secretariat of Consumer Defense (Sedeco), the price of several products from the basic family basket in supermarkets in the metropolitan area decreased while the price of other products, such as stews, carrots, locote, and potato, increased.