Livestock in Serbia halved

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In Serbia, the livestock has been halved in the last 30 years, and the breeding herd is especially worrying, so if urgent measures are not taken to stop this trend, it will take many years for livestock to recover, experts and producers said today.

“A red light has come on, warning that livestock farming in Serbia is in a deep crisis. Not only the livestock, intended for the market, but also the basic breeding herd of basic types of cattle is decreasing. It is incomprehensible that this is happening in a country that is one of the ten largest exporters of corn in the world, “said agricultural expert Milan Prostran.

Commenting on the data published by the Republic Bureau of Statistics (SORS) on the reduction of livestock last year, he said that the real picture of the situation in livestock will be obtained only after the 2023 census, and it will not be better because statistical data which are published are based on an estimate, and many facts indicate that the situation is worse.

According to the SBS in Serbia, in the 11 months of last year from January 1 to December 1, compared to the same period in 2020, the number of cows decreased by three percent, pigs by 3.9, goats by 3.6 while the number of sheep increased by 0.6 percent. Compared to the ten-year average (2011-2020), the total number of cattle decreased by 5.1 percent, pigs by 6.5 percent, goats by 6.7 percent and poultry by 9.5 percent, and the number of sheep increased by 1 percent. , 8 percent.

Livestock in Serbia has been declining since 1990, and how the numbers are ‘falling’ can be understood if we follow the trend from 2000, when 1.27 million cattle were raised, and in 2019 that number dropped to 878,000, pigs in 2000 there were four million, in 2019 about 2.79 million. In this period, only the number of sheep increased due to the introduction of subsidies, so in 2000 it was 1.6 million, and in 2019 it was 1.77 million “, said Prostran, Beta reports.

He added that the reasons for the reduction of livestock are numerous, from sanctions to falling prices of live weight and exports, rising food prices in the last half year, increased imports of frozen meat and livestock.

According to him, the announcement of opening new markets did not help stop the negative trend because, for example, a lot was expected from beef exports to Turkey, and that country lowered prices after a short time so that it was no longer worth the money to load meat into means of transport.

Prostran said that it would be necessary to take measures to stop the extinguishing of livestock, from doubling the agricultural budget from five to ten percent compared to the republic, increasing subsidies, protecting domestic production, stopping meat imports, because only last year 25 tons of pork were imported.

The president of the Association of Agricultural Producers of Serbia, Zoran Milićević, said that the extension had been warning for a year about the need to take urgent measures in order to stop closing down farms.

Recently, as he said, it was stated that in the village of Zica, in addition to Kraljevo, 28 households sold the cattle they raised.

“Some who sold the herd told me that they are happy because they do not care how they will buy expensive food, to whom they will sell cattle, whose prices increase only during big holidays, such as New Year or Christmas. The problem is even to collect the sold cattle, if it is given to deferred payment “, said Milićević.

He pointed out that piglets for the January holidays cost 330 dinars per kilogram of live weight, and when they passed, the price dropped to 180 dinars.

Milicevic said that live pigs are imported and that the customs duty was 19.5 percent, then it was abolished and recently returned, but only five percent of the value of imports, so that producers must again ask for an increase in that duty.

“The state owes us subsidies for last year on various grounds, and recently the Agrarian Payments Administration promised to pay off its debts by the end of February.” In such conditions, it is difficult to engage in animal husbandry “, said Milićević, Politika reports.