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Sunday, May 26, 2024

No food price relief in sight

Norway’s high food prices don’t look set to decline any time soon. Not only have farmers won more state support for their prices, grocery store owners have tried to exonerate themselves from any price collaboration.

The state Ministry of Agriculture came to terms earlier this month with representatives for the farmers (Bondelaget) after sweetening their initial subsidy and support offer by around NOK 200 million. It will come mostly in the form of increased import protection for Norwegian milk that will give dairy farmers an average increase of about NOK 11,500 a year.

“The agreement gives farmers good income development in line with other groups,” said Agriculture Minister Lars Peder Brekk. Farmers had wanted an additional 1.86 billion in direct and indirect state subsidies, but settled for NOK 950 million.

Milk prices will rise by around 2.5 percent, other dairy products by 0.8 percent and overall food prices were expected to rise 0.5 percent. Fruit and vegetables will go up by around 3 percent.

Norway already has among the highest food prices in the world but farmers, retailers and state officials can’t agree on who’s to blame. Grocery store owners recently delivered their own report claiming that even though market control has been consolidated in recent years, their business is characterized by tough competition and small margins.

Brekk, and many consumers, have questioned why the four leading grocery retailing chains in Norway continue to log huge profits.

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