Sofia, 24 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The interim government of Bulgaria today decided to free state reserves of grain in an attempt to stabilize sharply rising bread prices.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reports the announcement was made by agriculture minister Rumen Hristov amid continuing bread shortages and rises in bread prices around the nation.
The minister said the state grain reserves will be sold on the market for a price of only $85 dollars a ton, well below the prevailing prices for imported grain.
He also said that the government is freeing the prices for grain, and he expressed confidence that this would cause tens of thousands of tonnes of grain -- which up to now have been held back -- to appear on the market. He said this would help satisfy the demand for bread.
Meanwhile, the head of the Bulgarian prisons service, Zdravko Traikov, today said that prisoners are now suffering food shortages in addition to other privations. But he denied the governemnt is planning to free thousands of prisoners because of the shortages.