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Farmers Argue Self-Sufficiency in Pork Could Fall

by 5m Editor
1 June 2010, at 5:08am

CZECH REPUBLIC - The Czech Republic last year imported 177,000 tonnes of pork, or about 40 per cent of its consumption, but this year its self-sufficiency will drop below 50 per cent unless conditions for domestic farmers are at least partially evened up with the EU, Agriculture Chamber head, Jan Veleba, has said.

Before the country's entry into the EU in 2003, pig breeders covered the entire domestic market and exported about one fifth of their output.

"Pig numbers in the Czech Republic dropped by one fifth to 2 million heads last year, while pork imports increased at the same ratio. The reason is the fact that retailers push meat prices downwards owing to the crisis and meat processors pass this pressure on to breeders. Breeders then have to sell a kilo of live weight of meat for Kc25.70, while their costs stand around Kc30," Mr Veleba said.

If the share of domestic production exceeds a certain limit, the price of imported meat will jump steeply, as has already happened in the case of garlic, Mr Veleba said.

The number of sows bred in the Czech Republic has fallen by half to about 125,000 since 2003, reports Prague Daily Monitor. "This is connected with unequal conditions on the single European market. The subsidies domestic farmers get per hectare of land are twice lower than their western competitors receive. The Czech Republic, however, has specific conditions - pig breeders have virtually no land, so they do not receive any subsidies at all," Czech Pig Breeders Association head Jindrich Machacek said.

The decline in sow numbers and the share of domestic pork on the market would be prevented if the state distributed a sum of Kc400m among breeders every year, according to Mr Machacek.