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KIEV, March 2. /TASS/. Ukraine’s agrarian policy minister Alexey Pavlenko has asked citizens not to panic amid food shortages in the country and blamed speculators for the current crisis.
"We have enough foodstuffs. As for crops, for example, we have 5.2 million tons now while the domestic consumption is 2.1 million tons. We have enough buckwheat. We have an excessive production of sugar, estimated at almost 700,000 tons, or more than the consumers need," Pavlenko said.
"In my opinion, the situation comes due to panic and speculative activities," Pavlenko told the country’s TV channels.
According to Pavlenko, the shop workers fail to prepack buckwheat and flour due to an increased demand, while some retail chains take advantage of the situation.
Ukraine’s media reports earlier said the collapse of the hryvnia and the growing prices on the country’s consumer market have led to panic buying of food, medicines and household appliances.
The shops limit the sales warning customers that they can buy no more than 2 packages of buckwheat, 3-5 kilograms of flour, 3-5 kilograms of sugar and 2 bottles of sunflower oil.
The same situation is observed in Lviv and Chernovtsy (in western Ukraine), Nikolayev (in the country’s south) and Dnipropetrovsk (eastern Ukraine), according to regional media reports.
"People are buying sacks of flour and sugar, and there is also shortage of crops and sunflower oil," the reports say.
The hryvnia has dropped to below 27 per dollar, the lowest level in the past five years, raising fears of a possible default. Last week, people held a rally in Kiev dubbed the "financial Maidan" demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s National Bank Governor Valeria Gontareva and her first deputy Alexander Pisarchuk.