Officials react to stockpiling with assurances supply is stable

Ljubljana, 13 March - Seeing people rush to grocery stores for large purchases in recent days, the country's top officials are trying to assuage fears about food supply. The supply of essential goods is stable and reserves are being replenished or expanded where disruptions are expected, Agriculture and Food Minister Aleksandra Pivec says.

Supermarkets in Slovenia are facing a sharp increase in large purchases.
Photo: STA

Empty shelves in a shop as Slovenians rushed to make stocks of durable goods as a lockdown was announced over the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo: STA
File photo

"We are presently not in a situation where large supply disruptions, with the exception of a few products perhaps, would be expected," Pivec told the 24ur evening news shows on POP TV on Thursday.

It is possible some alternative choices will have to be made in some cases, she added, while noting that "when it comes to meat, Slovenia does not have these problems". "If the supply with pork will be disrupted, chicken and beef will have to be resorted to," she illustrated.

Pivec, who is to stay on as agriculture, food and forestry minister in the Janez Janša government expected to be confirmed later today, said Slovenia's reserves secured supply with basic necessities for three months and that they were currently being replenished and expanded.

Outgoing PM Marjan Šarec also sees no reason for concern, telling TV Slovenija late on Thursday that "in case the tougher conditions persist for long, some tropical fruits will be in short supply". "But the important thing is that basic foodstuffs will be there and there is enough in the reserves."

His successor Janez Janša, who has indicated Slovenia will go into lockdown mode once his government takes over, called on people on Thursday to show restraint. He agrees it does make sense to create some reserves so as not to have to got to shopping centres every day, but overdoing it leads to others ending up empty-handed.

Janša said the state reserves will take care of the most urgent needs even if supply was disrupted for weeks or months, while he also announced the government would buy milk surpluses among other things.

The new government does not plan to close down shopping centres, with Janša arguing people are not ready for this and that it is not possible to activate alternative supply routes so quickly, even though these are being prepared.

© STA, 2020