The government will gradually increase reserves of essential food commodities for emergency supply of the population during the coronavirus outbreak and is putting forward an emergency bill to intervene in agricultural markets.
The Slovenian food industry is being affected by market disruption and instability due to obstacles to the free movement of goods and services, capital and persons in the single EU market and third countries.
Presenting the measures in response to the situation on Saturday, Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec said that the situation was being monitored and responded to in accordance with disruption in food supplies.
“Projections and predictions are also being made in case of disruption due to restrictions on transport of food across various borders,” she said.
Regardless of the high level of self-sufficiency for milk, meat and dairy and meat products, the government tasked the Commodity Reserves Institute to gradually increase reserves of UHT milk, milk powder, cheese, poultry and beef.
The government has also adopted a bill on emergency measures in the market of agricultural produce, food, livestock and poultry markets and wood, submitting it to parliament for passage in an emergency procedure.
“The idea is to create the possibility to place restrictions on trade in agricultural produce, food products and livestock and poultry to ensure sufficient food supplies in the country,” said the minister.
The act would allow the minister, in consent with the economy minister, to impose restrictions or bans on exports or imports of individual products or groups of products to or from other countries.
The act would also give the minister the power to cap prices of certain foodstuffs.
On the proposal of mayors, the Agriculture Ministry would also be able to appoint interim administrator of a farm if the farmers or employees on the farm were unable to work due to the effects of coronavirus.
The bill moreover provides for creation of temporary storage facilities in case of a surplus of goods due to disruption in exports in existing warehouses.
The minister would also get the power to impose restrictions and bans on imports of wood, wood chips and pellets from other countries, a measure to that Pivec said was meant to prevent import of coronavirus infections.