Fewer Cattle & Pigs, More Poultry in Czech Republic08 February 2011
CZECH REPUBLIC - In the latest count, cattle and pig numbers hit record lows while the poultry population increased slightly.
Pig numbers in the Czech Republic decreased by 3.5 per cent year-on-year to 1.84 million last year, the lowest figure since 1946, according to data of the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), reports Prague Monitor. Cattle numbers fell by 2.7 per cent to 1.32 million, the lowest figure since the early 1920s. Poultry numbers, on the other hand, increased by 0.5 per cent to 24 million.
Farmers have been warning for several years that pig breeding is loss-making and that they cannot compete with cheap imports of pork from abroad. In 1999, pigs numbers over four million.
According to the Agricultural Chamber, the Czech Republic's self-sufficiency in pork production will drop below 50 per cent this year.
Agriculture Minister, Ivan Fuksa, said on television on 6 February that he wanted to increase support to pig breeders using several hundred million crowns (CZK) from a package of CZK800 million that the ministry has earmarked for support of sensitive commodities.
Cow numbers fell by 2.5 per cent to 542,000 by the end of 2010, of which the number of suckler cows fell by 3.3 per cent to almost 167,000 head. The current cattle numbers in the Czech Republic are 60 per cent lower than 20 years ago and milk production is also falling.