The meat industry in Serbia is on the verge of collapse because there the sales of pork, beef and poultry has declined since hotels and restaurants are empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no foreign tourists and meat and meat product export has been suspended.
The co-owner of Matijevic meat company, Zoran Matijevic, told the Beta news agency that the biggest demand for meat is usually in summer, which is why prices are rising, but now the market is saturated due to the decline in export and an insufficient number of domestic and foreign tourists.
“There is no one to sell meat to in the domestic market, the supply is overflowing because there are no exports, prices have fallen and producers are in trouble,” said Matijevic.
According to him, pigs are sold at prices 10-15% lower than last year and pigs are sold at between 130 and 150 dinars per kilogramme of their weight.
He added that there the with beef has been going on for two years now because after the announcement by Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimović in May 2018 that 5,000 tonnes of beef could be exported to Turkey duty-free, producers have increased the livestock but the Turkish market has not shown interest in this quantity of beef.
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Eventually, a “political agreement” was concluded with Turkey on beef export but such an agreement is failing due to political issues and is “unreliable for producers”.
“Cattle is now sold for 150 to 180 dinars per kilogramme of weight while last year, it was sold for 250 dinars per kilogramme,” said Matijevic.
Matijevic said that, a year and a half ago, poultry cost about 260 dinars per kilogramme and today it is sold between 160 and 180 dinars, which is about 20% less than the agreed price.
Another reason why the price of meat has fallen is the large import of meat for processed products from abroad which is customs duties or levies free, which is why two large meat companies in Serbia have closed their slaughterhouses and are importing it.
“The Serbian government has an unstable policy of encouraging livestock farming and European countries subsidize this production in various ways. Croatia plans to increase livestock farming by 40% as a priority plan,” said Matijevic.
Croatia has recently secured 90% of EU grants for the opening of meat processing plants.
According to him, exporting processed products to Bosnia and Herzegovina is difficult after the ban because of the African swine flu.
The owner of the Đurđević slaughterhouse, Milenko Đurđević, said that the export of beef to Turkey, Italy and China was completely stopped in March due to the pandemic.
“We were exporting 100 bulls a day or 500 a week before the pandemic, while now we have 5,000 bulls ready to sell, but there are no buyers,” said Đurđević.
He added that, last year, they sold tonnes of ćevapi meat per day to hotels and restaurants in summer, but now, due to the lack of tourists, very few catering facilities are buying it.
This post is also available in: Italiano