“Severe” measures against farmers who refuse to harvest potato crops in order to raise their prices in the market

The Ministry of Commerce and Export Promotion is planning to take “severe” actions against potato growers who refuse to harvest their crops to raise market prices for the product, stated a source from the ministry.

The director of the organization of markets and commercial activities at the ministry, Ahmed Mokrani affirmed, in a statement to APS, that the control services carry out, in coordination with the services of the Ministry of Agriculture, operations of control at the level of the various potato-producing wilayas in order to stem this phenomenon.

In the wilaya of El Oued, the services of the Ministry of Commerce affirmed, after control operations, that the farmers refused to proceed with the collection of their potato harvests estimated at 10,000 tons leaving them underground, which explains the rise in prices of this product on the wholesale and retail markets.

Still in the same wilaya, quantities of potatoes were harvested over an area of ​​20,700 hectares, while 9,500 hectares remained underground, said Mr. Mokrani, explaining that a fixed deadline was given to farmers for the collection of the remaining quantities “under pain of severe penalties”.

It is worth recalling, in this regard, that the law on illegal speculation, which has come into force, provides for prison sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years for those involved, or even up to 30 years in certain cases (during a health crisis or natural disaster, for example).

Imprisonment sentences have been pronounced by the courts against people involved in speculation in several wilayas including Médéa and Constantine.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Commerce is working, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, to fight against speculation on livestock feed, particularly after the cases of fraud recorded in the distribution of subsidized bran, after its price went from 1800 Da to 4000 Da.

The services concerned have begun to review the terms of distribution of this subsidized product, according to the official who said in this regard that the import operations of this food were still open to private and public operators and that nothing justified the increase of thei prices.

Addressing the fight against speculation, Mr. Mokrani said that the security services seized large quantities of more than 2,964 tons of flour intended for bakers, especially since it was established that more than 450 traders from different wilayas of the country are involved, and this until January 20th.

For a better knowledge of the law on speculation, the Ministry of Trade and Export Promotion, organized training sessions for trainers at the level of all the trade directorates of the wilayas to sensitize traders, craftsmen and farmers on the dangers of this phenomenon and the penalties incurred.

With regard to the assessment of the control services and the repression of fraud during the month of January, the same official indicated that the control agents under the Ministry of Commerce carried out 42,887 interventions which resulted in the finding of 346 offences, the establishment of 328 reports and the closure of 6 commercial premises.

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