A chance for Serbia – Pork meat production

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We should use the reduced production of fattening pigs and meat in the EU, and especially in Germany, from where we imported pork, to increase our own production to, to begin with, fulfill our own needs. In the meantime, rules should be established that would allow for the constancy of production, which has been declining for years. The opportunity that presents itself should not be missed, Nenad Budimović, secretary of the Livestock Association of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), told. The Germans close the fattening farms. The news that pig farmers in Germany are changing jobs or closing farms, because they cannot withstand the increase in feed and energy prices, inevitably raised the question of how this will affect domestic production, which has been declining for years.

The President of the Association of the Meat Industry of Germany, Hubert Keliger, emphasized that the decline in production will be felt by the German consumer financially, but also announced that additional significant price increases should be expected. According to Budimović, we need about five million pigs, and we have slightly more than two million. So far this year, we have imported around 30,000 tons of pork, which is almost twice as much as last year, says our interlocutor.

However, he believes that a turnaround in this situation is possible, although not overnight.

“As for our producers of fattening pigs, or pork meat, I think they have a great advantage compared to the European ones because we are a country that can produce enough quality feed for animals and in sufficient quantities”, points out the PKS expert. Budimović, however, notes that the high price of inputs is not the only reason for the decrease in the production of fattening and pork meat in the EU. The abandonment of that production started two or three years ago with the high price of mandatory investment in environmental protection, because it is a question of dirty production technology on farms due to the emission of harmful gases and waste water, he explains.

Chance to stop the fall

He considers that all that could be a chance for our producers.

“Our chance is to first produce enough for our own needs, so that we don’t have to be importers of pork for processing and to make products that are GMO-free, from animals that have not used genetically modified food, and that has added value.” Of course, this cannot happen overnight, it must take a certain amount of time for this to happen, but if we stop the decline in pig production and the unprofitability of our farmers, that would be one of the first steps that would contribute to improving the situation”, the secretary of the Associations for livestock production said.

We should look for our own chance in those cracks that we can fill and that large amounts of foreign currency don’t go outside the country. For the first four months alone, 26 million euros were allocated for the import of pork. Imagine if all that money that was spent on imports was directed to production and improvement of production, he adds.

Parity to corn

When asked what would mean the most to producers and what could encourage them to fatten pigs, he has no dilemma: “The most important thing, which would give positive results, is to implement a system of parameters, to know exactly when the farmer enters the fattening round, if the price is, for example, 250 dinars, to know that it will be that much at the end of the fattening, and not with uncertainty. One of the methods by which this is achieved is the introduction of parity with respect to corn. What is the price of a kilogram of corn, the price of a kilogram of live animals should be seven times higher”, says our interlocutor.

If the price of corn is 30 dinars, the live weight of pigs should be 210 dinars per kilogram. In that case, he believes, there are little opportunities for oscillations. As he notes, we are otherwise quite a sensitive, economically thin market where even small oscillations have a big effect on both farmers and the slaughterhouse industry. One of the sources of the problem, as he pointed out, is precisely the unresolved relations between producers and slaughterhouses that exist because the rules of the game are not known.

Solve the relations with slaughterhouses

“Slaughterhouses should have contracts with farmers.” To agree on the quantity and price. If the price is higher, they share the profit, if the price is lower, they share the loss. Although it belongs to the realm of science fiction when talking like this, the interest is common, no matter how much they compete with each other”, our interlocutor believes. He is convinced that they would have to agree on some parameters. When asked how much the state can help to fix their relations, he says that the state does not have a mechanism for that.

“It can react when there are surpluses, buy them at a certain price and calm the market, but it should not be an example of practice, to do it all the time. That’s not the goal. What the state needs to do is to respect the incentives it decided, to pay them on time, to enable new markets through foreign trade agreements and to make it easier to obtain documents for export if there is interest”, says Budimović. In his opinion, in the current situation, it would mean the most to producers to pay premiums, incentives that are in arrears, to apply parities, which PKS has already proposed. He believes that there is hope for a better position of the producer, that there is reason and understanding, because, as he says, only one side can be satisfied, and the other – as it happens, Sputnik writes.

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