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20,000 unemployed in the food industry

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Autor: Diana Grădinaru 03 Feb 2009 - 00:00
Over 20,000 people working in the food industry will lose their jobs in 2009, while the imported foods and those made from imported raw materials will have prices higher by approximately 15% due to the exchange rates.

STUDY/ The crisis separates the personnel
The food industry crisis deepens by the day while the national currency does not seem to strengthen, said the representatives of the Union Federation in Food Industry (UFFI) in a press conference. The reference exchange rate of 4.29 lei/euro announced yesterday by the central bank does not give any hope of better things to come. If the national currency continues to depreciate at the same pace in the next two months, the effect of the increasing prices for the imported foods should be observed in less than a month. "We are dependent on imports. 80% of our fruits and vegetables are imported as well as 70% of the pork and the raw sugar needed for a production of 30,000 tones of refined sugar, which makes us vulnerable to the depreciation rate", Dragos Frumosu from FSIA also said. He is of opinion that more than 20,000 employees in the food industry will be sent home until the end of the year. "There are 700, 800 or even 1000 people in the food industry that work only when the company calls them. Now, they are at home, being paid 75% of their salary, and they could be dismissed", Frumosu says. The multinational Enterprises are also forced to reduce their expenses. The moving of the Kraft factory from Braşov to Bulgaria, which resulted into 440 unemployed people, is only the first case that shows this.

In addition, Ovidiu Gheorghe, the President of the National Vine and Wine Patronage (NVWP), complains about the blockages that appeared in key points of the production-distribution flow for agricultural products. "If the Ministry of Agriculture starts blocking their subsidies, things will get out of control", he said. The difficult process that a manufacturer has to go through in order to access credit lines and the delays in payments from the distribution networks destabilize the agriculture even more. The sums to be recovered from these networks reach millions of euros, according to the Ovidiu Gheorghe - NVWP.  

THE MINISTRY PROMISES
The list of the proposed solutions for solving the problems in agriculture foresees a shorter time for the payment of the subsidies, a 30% support on the loans contracted by farmers and a new National Program for Rural Development, according to yesterday's statements of Liviu Harbuz, State Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. The current NPRD, which Romania can use in order to access EU funds worth of 8 billion euros by 2013, "is not totally based on the reality in the field". Harbuz estimated that the new variant of the NPRD would be ready in 30 to 60 days.

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