Fluor producer says "prices will rise, despite false promises by Government"

Mr. P.Tsenguun, Director of Altan Taria, one of the three biggest flour producers and importers in the country, has asked people to ignore Government reassurances based on fictitious data and instead to prepare for higher prices in the coming months. “The reality is that there is a shortage of flour in Mongolia. Unfortunately, the Government does not accept the fact and, instead, spreads disinformation,” he has said.
He has charged the Ministry for Food and Agriculture with deliberately fudging figures at all stages. “They exaggerate the harvest figures to show that higher amounts are bought with State money,” he said, adding last year’s actual wheat production was at least 100,000 tons less than “the official boast” of 400,000 tons. This year, too, his company’s projection is that total output will be less than the Government estimate of 350,000 tons by a similar amount. “They always say – before, during and after harvest – that production has been in excess of domestic needs but never explain why, then, we regularly import flour?” he said. “Such lying to the people, and such meaningless reassurances are all features of socialist era that refuse to go away.”
Right now, he said, there is shortage of wheat in Ulaanbaatar, “so there is no way flour prices will fall, no matter what the Government says to mislead people”. He was also against the Government setting a price for the wheat when it is harvested. “When wheat prices are rising sharply in the global market, why should our cultivators be denied the opportunity to make some money?” he asked, adding that policy makers should leave prices to be determined by free market forces.
Mr. Tsenguun was not sure how much wheat the Government had in stock, but said bringing it to Ulaanbaatar and distributing it to the flour mills “will take time, cost money and take a lot of arrangement. Government work is slow and bureaucratic and it will not change into military speed in the present case.” He said when “the Russian companies we import from started indicating that they will stop supplies, even after raising prices by 20-30 percent”, flour producers here approached the Ministry many times to buy the wheat in stock, but government employees were not “interested in bringing the wheat to Ulaanbaatar and rejected our pleas on various grounds. It may all very well be a lie. When we ask where the wheat is, they say it is in storage. When we propose to go there and buy wheat, they become silent.”
It also must be remembered that the amount of wheat in stock does not indicate how much of it will be available to be turned into flour. A considerable quantity goes into producing alcohol and into feed for livestock.  Claiming that Mongolia will have to import 150,000 tons of good wheat or 100,000 tons of flour before October, Mr. Tsenguun warned consumers that prices were bound to go up, and the Government’s “unrealistic decisions” about fixing prices cannot succeed. He also scoffed at suggestions that flour producers had colluded among themselves to raise prices and dared the Unfair Competition Regulatory Authority to produce any evidence in support of its statement to that effect, which “has harmed our reputation unjustly”.
Source: English.News.mn
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