The government on Wednesday approved compensation for farmers who suffered losses due to last year’s droughts amounting to 600 million crowns. The financial support should be aimed mainly at small producers, Agriculture Minister Marián Jurečka wrote on his Twitter account. The compensation will go to farmers whose harvest last year was at least 30 percent lower than the average harvest in the previous three years. They should receive around ten percent of their average expenses. Corn, potatoes, hops and sugar beet growers were among those most affected by last year’s exceptionally dry weather.
Czech pork and milk producers are finding it increasingly hard to compete with cheap imports from other EU states. Individual producers are seeking ways to sell their products directly to end-consumers and the Czech Agriculture Ministry is considering giving them additional support from the state budget.
The Czech Agriculture Ministry is considering additional extraordinary support of more than 400,000 crowns from the state budget for pork and milk producers, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said on Monday. The minister was speaking at the Žofín Forum. But additional support would have to be approved by the European Commission. Pork output in the Czech Republic last year fell by 3.5 percent, mainly as a result of cheap imports. According to Minister Jurečka, the current situation at pig farms in the country is critical. Owing to cheap imports, Czech producers often sell pork below their production costs. Czech cattle and pig farmers are already receiving extraordinary support at the amount of 600 million crowns, half of which comes from the state budget and half from EU funds. Cattle breeders were grappling with low purchasing prices of milk last year. Prices dropped owing to overproduction in Europe, which was caused by the abolition of milk production quotas and also as a result of the continuing Russian embargo on food imports.
Sales in Czech retail trade in January, not counting the automotive sector, fell to 4.6 percent year-on-year compared to 6.7 percent in December 2015. The figures were released by the Czech Statistics Office on Monday. Czech consumers spent significantly more online, an increase of 15.4 percent year-on-year, while retail sales of food and fuel also increased. By contrast, consumers spent less on pharmaceutical items and medical goods. Prices decreased year-on-year in the categories of fuel, food and computers. Higher prices were registered in the categories of culture, sports and recreation, clothing and footwear and pharmaceutical and medical goods.
The Czech agricultural sector last year saw overall profits slide dramatically from the record year of 2014, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Profits for the sector dropped by around 27 percent to around 16.9 billion. The main factor was lower prices for goods, in particular milk and pork but earnings were also affected by the drought over the summer. Overall sales in the sector amounted to 127 billion crowns with crops making up around 75 billion crowns of that. The Agricultural Association, which uses different figures and calculations, says profit more than halved last year to 9 million crowns from 19 billion.
Sales of the flagship beer Pilsner Urquell rose by more than 8 percent overall last year compared with 2014 based on sales on the domestic market and abroad. That means that a new record for overall sales surpassing the 2 million hectoliters of 2014 will be set. The beer is one of the main marks of Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj, which belongs to the SAB Miller group.
The Czech agriculture sector saw a fall in profits of over 50 percent year-on-year in 2015, according to figures released by the Czech Agricultural Association on Tuesday. While the industry saw profits of CZK 19 billion in 2014, last year the figure stood at CZK 9 billion. The fall has been attributed to a decline in commodity prices that hit animal products, particularly milk and pork.
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