Panic in the produce aisle: Which vegetables will cost you more in Czechia?

A shortage of vegetables in export countries has driven up prices in Czechia. Here are the salad-bowl favorites you'll pay more for.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 28.02.2023 15:07:00 (updated on 02.03.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Eating healthy is becoming a luxury in Czechia of late due to rising vegetable prices and fears of shortages ahead. Several salad bowl favorites, particularly cucumbers, peppers, and onions will cost you more in the coming weeks due to poor harvests in Asia, Africa, and southern Europe.

But how much more will consumers actually pay in the produce aisle and should veggie lovers fear that shortages happening in countries like Britain will hit the Czech Republic? While some signs point to a prolonged price increase, the news isn't all bad, experts say.

What's behind the price increase?

Sharply rising vegetable prices in export-oriented countries such as Morocco and Turkey have led to a halt of exports. Poor harvests in Spain and north Africa – where many European countries source their vegetables – have also stoked fears of a shortage, Seznam Zprávy writes.

Floods in Pakistan, frosts in Central Asia, and the knock-on effects of the Russia-Ukraine war have all precipitated a “perfect storm” that threatens the supply of vegetables in Europe. 

AGENCY PROPERTIES

The UK has recently reported widescale vegetable shortages due to unseasonable weather in the south of Europe and north Africa, with some supermarkets even placing caps on the number of vegetables that people can buy. Although the situation is not quite as dire in Czechia, things could worsen. 

Domestic vegetable production has lessened due to external factors, which complicate Czechia's local supply. President of Czechia’s Agrarian Chamber Jan Doležal explained that higher energy prices have complicated Czech producers’ storage of vegetables. Data from the Czech Statistical Office today showed that agriculture-production prices rose over 25 percent year on year in January.

Which produce is most affected?

Head of the Vegetable Union of the Czech Republic Alice Kouřilová labels onions as being at risk of disappearing from shelves, calling them “a very sought-after commodity.” According to Kouřilová, Czechia is dependent on other countries for sourcing onions, explaining that the country can only produce half of its total onion consumption. 

Peppers, humorously dubbed by some Czechs at the moment as a worthy investment item, have also surged in price. Tomatoes have also gone up in price since November. Fruits are also at risk of becoming even costlier – bananas and oranges have both become more expensive in the past two months.

According to chairman of the Czech Republic Fruit Union Martin Ludvík, even fruits such as strawberries and tomatoes are at real risk of disappearing from Czech shelves. 

Price Czech

  • Cucumbers - a kilo increased in price by 41 percent in the first half of February
  • Green peppers - up 37 percent in the first two weeks of February
  • Eggplants - up 82 percent year on year
  • Yellow onions - up by 78 percent annually in February
  • Tomatoes - rose by 11 percent in January month on month

    Source: Czechia's State Agricultural Intervention Fund, February 2023

Some things are actually cheaper

Is it all bad news? Thankfully, not quite. Chinese cabbage, chives, and parsley have all become slightly cheaper year on year. The price of lemons has also been falling since November 2022; the cost of a kilogram has declined from CZK 56 to CZK 48 in the last three months. Carrots have held constant.

The increase of many vegetable prices will be met with annoyance by the millions of people in Czechia who have already had to cope with sharp inflation in the past year. Some consolation can be found in the foodstuffs that are slightly cheaper, although many may feel unease at how prices will develop in the months ahead.

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