Pig-farming facing economic crisis
Rising costs and falling sales prices on the market are forcing pig farmers to reduce stock or even cease activity altogether, ERR reports.
Roomet Sõrmus, Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, said at the heart of the crisis is a combination of steep rises in the cost of pig-feed and low prices for the end product, i.e. pork.
He said: "The pig-farming sector has found itself in a very difficult situation over the past six months, with free market prices falling by about a third below actual production costs. Production costs are rising."
Consumers should support Estonian products, he added.
"From the point of view of consumers, it is definitely important how we, qua consumers, can support our domestic farmers, with preference given to Estonian pork and Estonian produce," he continued.
"The price of fodder grain has risen very, very steeply and it is very difficult to cope with the economic realities in this situation," he added.
One farm owner in Põlva County told ERR that they had decided to stop raising pigs altogether, as a result of the crisis.
Farm manager Ave Haamer said that there was nothing the business could do to influence sales prices.
"With prices like those experienced for pork in Europe in recent years, pork from Spain, Germany and Denmark gets imported to Estonia, we would not be able to compete," Haamer said.
Government support has propped up pig farmers in January, Roomet Sõrmus added, but this was not a long-term solution, he added.
The same near-scissors crisis is affecting other agricultural sectors also, though pig-farming is currently the hardest hit.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte