Latvian pig farmers have begged the government for financial aid, warning that, without it, local pork production will cease by the end of the year.
The Latvian Association of Pig Producers told the Ministry of Agriculture and Farming that recent hikes in feed price meant the industry was on the brink of collapse.
“Currently, pork production in the country is unprofitable. The average loss of farmers currently stands at LAT120 (US$226) per sow. The grain harvest this year is great, but prices for feed are still rising. A ton of grain without VAT on the internal market currently costs LAT150 (US$282). The prices for corn and soybeans are steadily growing. If the ministry can not compensate these losses, it would mean the complete destruction of the industry,” said representatives of the association.
Poultry farmers in Latvia are facing similar problems. Andris Viltsmeyers, the board member of one of the largest poultry producers in Latvia, Kekava Company, explained: “Poultry feed, which mostly consists of corn, currently accounts for about 45% of the total money spend of a poultry farm. Therefore, as a result of the increase in grain prices, we will also see an increase in prices for chicken.”
Meat price rise
Kristaps Amsils, the chairman of the board of agricultural holding Dobeles dzirnavnieks, said that without government support, local prices for meat would continue to rise. “Purchase prices for grain are determined by the level of grain prices on world markets, because we have to compete with global buyers. If prices on the stock exchange increase, so will the purchase price. It is therefore impossible to keep local prices low,” he said.
Dace Lutsaua, secretary of state for Latvia’s ministry of Agriculture and Farming, said that financial compensation for livestock farmers could only be considered at the end of the year, because it would depend on budget opportunities.
“Rise in grain prices affect everyone, and agricultural organisations need to first agree the priorities among themselves,” she added.