The Serbian population of finishers dropped to 2.5 million. That means that the country is no longer meeting its demand for pork, the Serbian livestock association estimated.
Over the past 3 decades, the number of finishers in the country has nearly halved. Imports are likely to exceed 10% of the market sales this year. Nenad Budimović, spokesperson for the Serbian livestock association, admitted that Serbian pig farmers are losing the competition against farmers in the European Union.
“Production in the EU is much cheaper, because they can feed their pigs with GM cereals, which is prohibited in our country,” said Budimović. “In addition, the industry depends on piglets imported from Europe. We do not have enough piglets for fattening. Piglets weighing around 20 to 30 kilograms are imported, mostly from Denmark.”
Branislav Gulan, a Serbian agrarian analyst, told the local news outlet Novosti that due to veterinary issues, Serbia has not been exporting any pork for years, including to the EU.
“Our country, which used to be a major pork exporter, has now become a net importer,” Gulan said. He believes urgent measures are necessary to close the gap between domestic production and consumption.
Novosti reported citing market sources who state that nearly 30% of Serbian pig farms ceased to exist over the past several years. This leads Serbian meat-processing plants to gradually replace Serbian pork with frozen imported meat. The publication warns that these changes, though unnoticed by customers, appear to be quite painful for the pig industry.
Pig production in Serbia is shrinking by 2-3% each year. Pig farms in the country curtail their operation almost on a daily bases, Novosti warned.
The current price of pork in slaughter weight in Serbia stands at 220 dinars ($ 2) per kg. As explained by Budimovic, this year’s rise in feedstuff prices make things tough for the Serbian pig farmers who are fighting hard to stay profitable. A few weeks ago, the price of pork amounted to 260 dinars ($ 2.3) per kg, he estimated.
Such price fluctuations appear to be quite painful for Serbian pig farmers. As the livestock association estimates, most farmers’ businesses reach a breakeven point of 245 dinars ($ 2.15) per kg.