Pork production in the Czech Republic threatened by rising costs

It’s not just fuel and energy prices that are rising – some food staples are also becoming more expensive. For example, in March, the price of flour and butter increased by more than 30% year on year. But most worrying for Czech farmers and butchers is that meat production has also been hit hard by rising prices. The rise in the price of pork is particularly worrying for the Czechs. They consume about 43 kg per year per capita according to data from the Czech Statistical Office – more than any other type of meat.

Czech television reported that at the family farm in Václavice near Liberec, the cost of producing one kilogram of pork is more than they can sell. Farm owner Štěpán Brodský said the problem has persisted for many years, got worse during the Covid crisis and intensified even more now due to the war in Ukraine. He is convinced that if the government does not help, Czech pig farming will continue to decline.

“In reality, we lose about a thousand crowns on every pig we produce, and we are still unable to sell it on the Czech market.”

Illustration photo: Jai79, Pixabay, CC0

He complains that he cannot even sell his products in the Czech Republic and is therefore forced to export to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Robert Erlebach, chairman of the Regional Agrarian Council of the Liberec region, believes that domestic farmers must be supported so that stocks do not decrease. Speaking to Czech television, he warns of the consequences if they are not.

“Otherwise it’s a matter of two or three years before Czech pork isn’t even available anymore.”

Due to the rising cost of producing meat, Czech butchers have to deal with fluctuating prices, shortages of certain types of meat and declining consumer interest. Sales of Czech butchers have reportedly fallen by a fifth in recent months.

Jaroslav Slavík, the owner of a butcher shop in the town of Hořice in the Hradec Králové region of the country, told Czech television that in his twenty years of business he had not seen an increase in price so significant in such a short period of time.

“It all started with beef. All of a sudden there was a shortage of beef and it became more expensive by dozens of crowns, maybe as much as forty. Chicken is the biggest problem right now. If you want chicken, you have to order it two or three days in advance.

Retailers say customers are looking for discounts or buying cheaper products in a bid to save money, and there have also been reports of people bypassing the supply chain altogether and buying meat directly from farmers , sometimes in quantities as large as half a whole pig. Others, Czech television reported, even go so far as to produce their own meat at home.

Berta D. Wells