Igor Boțan: Government should have well-planned communication strategy for Moldova to overcome food crisis

The Government should have a well-planned communication strategy so as to explain to the citizens what is going on, what measures are being taken, what the possible developments are and how society can overcome the food crisis, said the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan. “The situation caused by the crisis is very complex and the developments depend a lot on the involved payers, primarily the government and the farmers, who are in a very difficult situation, and on how the citizens react,” the expert stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.

In the discussion, it was noted that there are several ways for helping the population and ensuring the accessibility of goods. On the one hand, solutions are being looked for to decrease the cost price of food products. On the other hand, the state is taking measures to support the socially deprived groups. In this connection, asked how efficient and sufficient authorities’ efforts are, the expert said that after the profound crisis experienced in Russia in 1998, all the political parties in the Republic of Moldova lay emphasis on the support for the population and this is a “reflex” already. “I agree with the experts who say that these reflexes are not always appropriate for overcoming particular crises, but I don’t think that this reflex of politicians in the Republic of Moldova can be somehow eliminated. I’m not sure that this is the best strategy, but experience shows that this is so and it will remain so long yet,” stated Igor Boțan.

He asked another panel expert, the minister of agriculture and food industry, to provide additional information about the principles of the food security strategy that is being deigned. He said he has questions about this strategy and wants to know if it is based on the current preconditions or this document starts from the presumption that this crisis will last for two or three years and things will then return to normality.

As to the increase in prices generated by the food crisis, Igor Boțan said the people already started to express their dissatisfaction by protests and the developments depend on how the government manages the situation. Also, the size the protests depends on the way in which the people express their dissatisfaction as the rise in prices can anytime anger the citizens.

Speaking about the foreign support and understanding on which the producers and consumer in Moldova can bank for overcoming the crisis, Igor Boțan said this support will definitely have a positive effect, but there are particular problems that do not allow making exact forecasts. “The big problem is that nobody knows when this crisis generated by the war will end. Nobody knows for how long this crisis situation that leads to problems related to food security in the Republic of Moldova can last. I consider that when forecasts are made, they should formulate versions so that the Government can correct the measures that can diminish the impact of the crisis. But it should also not neglect the fact that the famers need to be helped to overcome this situation and to save their businesses. If the farmers lose their businesses, the regional and security crisis can pass, but we will have to deal with repercussions for a long period of time. So, the authorities and agricultural experts should do calculations and should find solutions to overcome those situations based on versions,” concluded the expert.

The public debate entitled “Facets of food crisis in the Republic of Moldova and the world” was the 252nd installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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