Estonian pig farmers warn against rising production costs

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine suspended grain exports, as Russian military vessels blocked the country’s main ports in the Azov-Black Sea basin. - Photo: AP
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine suspended grain exports, as Russian military vessels blocked the country’s main ports in the Azov-Black Sea basin. - Photo: AP

Providing that grain prices remain high, it would be wiser to slaughter all pigs for canned food in Estonia rather than keep them. This was mentioned to local publication Pealinn by Raido Allsaar, head of Estonian pig company Magede OU. This would eventually be better for the country’s food security, he added.

Allsaar explained that the price for feed grain in Estonia had been going up during the past few months, making pig breeding problematic. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, became a shock for the local grain market, pushing prices further by 30% to 40%.

Disrupted supplies

Juhan Syargava, manager of Saidafarm OU pig farm, told the publication that the price of feed grain in Estonia was rising by 10% per day, over mounting concerns of narrowing supplies. Estonia used to import grain from Ukraine, and to a lesser extent, from Russia.

Ukraine was the world’s 6th largest exporter of wheat in 2021 with a 10% share of the market, shipping 20 million tons of wheat and meslin – a mixture of wheat and rye, according to the United Nations.

However, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine suspended grain exports, as Russian military vessels blocked the country’s main ports in the Azov-Black Sea basin. Ukraine has recently partly resumed grain exports by train, but supplies remain scarce.

For sure, Russia will send its grain to other countries: there are quite a few markets outside the European Union and the United States

Juhan Syargava, manager of Saidafarm OU pig farm

No Russian grain

Syargava raised concerns that Ukraine would no longer export any grain, while Russia would likely divert supplies from the European direction to other markets. “For sure, Russia will send its grain to other countries: there are quite a few markets outside the European Union and the United States,” Syargava said.

The former Russian president and senior security official Dmitry Medvedev threatened to restrict grain exports only to “friendly” countries of Russia, suggesting that the country should use grain exports “as a silent weapon.”

In a statement shared on his Telegram channel on April 1, Medvedev claimed that grain export is a “silent, but powerful weapon, as food security in several countries depends on the Russian grain suppliers”.

Call for a state aid

Madis Tamm, owner of Soone Farm OU stated that in the current conditions on the grain market the government should focus on supporting pig breeding in Estonia.

“Pig farmers, as a strategic industry, should be supported so that it does not disappear altogether. If it disappears, it will not be restored,” Tamm said.

ter Beek
Vincent ter Beek Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world



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