This support will not only help companies in the poultry and pig sector to cope with the negative consequences of the coronavirus, but also to preserve jobs and continue to provide food to the Lithuanian population.
"These sectors are in a difficult situation, both as a result of the closure of the catering sector, which has led to a drop in purchase prices and scale, and due to the increase in feed prices. The government listened and heard all sides, did its best to ensure that the pig and poultry sector achieved a fair financial injection," says Minister Navickas.
As in other countries, as in Lithuania, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only individual companies, but entire structural sectors of public service, industry and agriculture.
"The government's priority now is to help the participants in the internal market survive. Unfortunately, the state budget and borrowing limits are limited. In view of this, we have prepared an aid package for the pig and poultry sectors directly affected by the quarantine restrictions imposed. Hearing the signals from vegetable growers, we intend to allocate support to this sector from the ministry's appropriations," says the Minister of Agriculture.
According to him, restoring the activities of these country-specific sectors would be much more costly and would take several years. EUR 12 million The injection of EUR 100 million should be the brake that will help operators to remain on the food production market until the situation stabilises.
Taking into account the specificities of the poultry sector, support would be granted to operators, regardless of their size.
According to the Agricultural Information and Rural Business Centre, the total average income of bird keepers in the country in Q4 2020 is more than 20% lower than in the same quarter of 2019. And in January 2021, income decreased by more than 40% compared to January 2019.
Processing plants have reduced production volumes due to market disturbances and have stopped awarding purchase contracts to some broiler chickens and farmers. This led to a significant decline in revenue. As a result, the turnover of 8 enterprises of broiler breeders of chickens, according to their data, fell by more than 30%, 4 of them completely stopped growing broilers.
Pig meat produced in Lithuania is mainly consumed on the domestic market, therefore, with the closure of the catering sector, the demand for pork has decreased significantly – this is one of the reasons that influenced the fall in the price of this production to 40%. Growing pigs before realization lasts 9-10 months. For their storage, not only feed is necessary, but also heating on farms, the maintenance of special equipment and equipment. Farms are struggling to survive after suffering losses of swine fever. They cannot abruptly stop production and put workers into downtime, so, like the poultry sector, there are serious financial difficulties.
Minister of Agriculture K. Navickas expects solidarity among all residents and encourages to choose products grown on Lithuanian farms and produced in the country's enterprises. Only in this way will we save our farms, which are going through a difficult pandemic period of trials. ■