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News 773 views last update:Mar 15, 2007

Czechs warn Austrians over pork imports

Czech pig farmers have announced plans to blockade border crossings with Austria in protest against the growth of Austrian imports of pigmeat.

Jan Veleba, president of the Czech Agricultural Chamber, said Czech pig breeders are facing the threat of collapse - blaming imports from Austria for that.


Action


Veleba announced the blockades would take effect by the end of March if Austria's ministry of agriculture fails to take action.


According to the country's farm ministry the main supplier of pigmeat to the Czech Republic is Germany, followed by Poland and Austria.


Sourcing


The Agricultural Chamber added that at this moment about 50% of pork in Czech supermarkets is sourced sourcing from across the border.


Last year, the Czech Republic imported around 112,000 tonnes of pigmeat - four times as much as in 2003.


Europe


The reactions to the announcements were not very positive. Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovic emphasised the single European market, of which the Czech Republic is a part. According to him the country is hardly in a position to put up barriers to trade.


"The only thing we can do is to check whether the meat that is sold complies with all regulations, whether it carries all the stamps it should have," he said.


Volumes and quality


Martin Hruska of the Interspar supermarket group, said that Czech processors were not able to supply the products they needed in adequate volumes and of the requisite quality.


"For this reason, part of the meat we sell will be imported, although for instance 80% of beef will be from Czech breeders," he added.


Related websites:
• Interspar (in Czech)
• Czech Ministry of Agriculture


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