President Belarus addresses crisis in pig industry

pig Belarus
Photo: Canva

The pig industry in Belarus has not shown the best performance over the last 2 years. Even the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko outlined the problem at a government meeting.

In the last 2 years, pig production in Belarus dropped by 12%. In some regions, for example the Homel region, the output even halved. The pig population in the country slumped by 11% or 290,000 animals, Lukashenko estimated.

Moreover, pig farms across Belarus are getting less efficient. In every second district, pig mortality increased, while the average litter is now 8% lower than in 2021, Lukashenko said. Some improvements are observed in 2023, though they hardly change the overall picture.“Against the backdrop of the disastrous past years, this year’s progress in restoring the livestock and pork production can be described as insignificant,” Lukashenko said. “This means there is an increase, but it is at the level of an arithmetic error. Efficiency indicators a continued decrease, and the number of loss-making pig farms keeps going up.”

Sanitary safety in the spotlight

Belarus lost 25% of pigs between 2012 and 2014 due to a wave of African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in the country. In 2014, Lukashenko ordered the government to restore the country’s pig population to the level before the ASF epidemic. Reality however, showed that practice turned out to be different. In 2023, pork accounts for nearly 25% of Belarussian meat production.

The Belarussian president called upon the authorities to find out what factors weigh on the pig industry. “Let’s figure out what the reason is. Where does technology break down? Where are sanitary measures not implemented? Where does the notorious human factor come into play?”

Biosecurity violations at pig complexes

Lukashenko also publicly admitted some long-standing problems in the industry, such as gross violations of the biosecurity at pig complexes. This includes insufficient attempts to combat rodents and birds and a lack of protective suits for farm employees. He also pointed out a problem with calculating the actual number of pigs and the concealment of veterinary incidents in the country.

The president suggested authorities to take a look at the successful example of the dairy industry. Belarus enjoyed substantial growth in dairy production during the past decade, primarily driven by expanding exports. Sales are going to foreign customers which are substantially exceeding the domestic demand.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent
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