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Ministry Video Shows Survival Threat to Czech Pigs

by 5m Editor
4 May 2011, at 10:08am

CZECH REPUBLIC - The sharp drop in the number of Czech pigs making their way onto local dinner tables has been highlighted in a Ministry of Agriculture video that asks the provocative question whether Czech pigs will disappear altogether by 2015.

Sharing star billing with animated pigs in the four-minute long video is Czech Agricultural Minister Ivan Fuksa (Civic Democrats, ODS), variously seen in his normal office environment, wearing a lab coat and preparing to dig into a joint of pork with a beer in hand to wash it down.

The ministry commissioned the video from top PR agency AMI Communications to highlight for a lay audience the threat facing Czech pigs, Agriculture Ministry (MZe) spokeswoman Magdalena Dvořáčková told Czech Position. “The Problems with Pigs“ (Trable s Čuniky) video is, for example, featured on YouTube and will be used at suitable news conferences, she added.

In almost fairy tale format, the recent sad history of Czech pigs is related by Minister Fuksa. In 1995, there were around 4 million Czech pigs, mostly destined to be made into local pork dishes. Last year, that total had halved to 2 million.

Minister Fuska traces the tragedy to the abolition of 38.5 percent import duties on European pork that was abolished ahead of European Union entry in 2004. From then on, cheaper pork from major producers, such as Denmark, began to flood the Czech market and undermine local producers and their pigs.

But Minister Fuksa also blames Czech farmers for their pigs not making it to market. He cites lagging productivity, investment and innovation. For instance, Czech farmers have only one-third of the productivity of their Danish counterparts.

Figures from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) at the end of April showed a 4.7 per cent drop in local pork production in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2010. During 2010, the number of Czech pigs dropped by 3.5 per cent to total 1.846 million.

The Agriculture Ministry is attempting to pump European funds to save the Czech pig from its European rivals.