Vineyards in South Moravia suffered damage valued at 1.4 billion crowns and fruit growers damages of 400 million crowns from severe frosts in April. The figures were given out Saturday during a visit by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to the region. Worst affected have apricot and peach growers with around 60 percent of the potential crop reckoned to be damaged. Sobotka said he wanted to push for both national and EU steps to be taken as soon as possible to relieve pressure on farmers. As well the vineyard owners and fruit growers, dairy farmers and livestock breeders have been hit by low prices for their products.
Almost half of some 5,000 checks of drinking establishments by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority last year revealed shortcomings, with proprietors either overcharging on beverages or selling customers short. On the positive side, the authority reported that no sales of bootleg liquor were uncovered; in 2012, the Czech Republic saw dozens of deaths related to bootleg liquor containing methanol. In all, the bureau handed down some 1,700 fines amounting to more than five million crowns.
Sunday’s parliamentary elections, ongoing negotiations over a reunification of the divided island – and maybe football: these are some of the main topics discussed in the garden of the Pivo "πίβο" Microbrewery, recently opened in the heart of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. Located on the Greek Cypriot South side of the old town, right next to the UN buffer zone, this is definitely the most Czech pub in the Mediterranean, within earshot of the muezzin call to prayer of one of the mosques on the North side. Four young men from the same family founded Pivo.
EU agriculture ministers are meeting in Brussels to debate the different quality of food products sold around the block. The meeting comes at Prague’s request and relates to the fact that the same brand products sold in supra-national chains are of a different quality in different EU member states. Other member states have also confirmed the same finding. The Czech consumers association has repeatedly criticized the fact that ketchup of a certain brand sold in the Czech Republic contains less tomatoes than the same product sold in Germany, that sausages contain less meat and jams less fruit. The arguments of the producers concerned that this is due to differing tastes around the block have been rejected as unacceptable.
Pig breeding in southern Moravia is reported to be down by 11 percent in the first quarter, according to the Czech Statistics Office. Pig breeding has suffered a serious setback due to severe competition within the EU, low meat prices and the Russian embargo. Pig farms around the country have been reducing animal numbers and are now only able to cover half of the country’s port consumption.
The sale of Fairtrade products in the Czech Republic has reached a plateau after several years of growth, according to the head of Fairtrade Czech Republic and Slovakia Hana Chorváthová. In 2015 Czechs bought 200 million crowns worth of Fairtrade goods, mostly coffee and chocolate. Coffee accounts for 61 percent of all Fairtrade products sold in the country, followed by chocolate, tea, sugar and biscuits.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has ordered retailers to pull an alcohol-free beer from their shelves which tests showed contained more alcohol than advertised or allowed. Samples of a beer called Vyškovské pivo Alkostop, the news site Novinky.cz reported, were found to contain 1.6 percent alcohol - far higher than than the maximum 0.5 permitted in alcohol-free beer. Further tests have been ordered with costs reportedly to be covered by the producer. The spokesman for the authority said that the higher percentage of alcohol could lead to problems, were, for example, a consumer to get behind the wheel.
The government on Monday approved an action plan for the agriculture sector up until the year 2030. According to Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka, planned changes include lowering by tens of thousands of hectares rapeseed production, increasing the breeding of livestock, significantly boosting vegetable growth and markedly increasing the protection of arable land from soil erosion. According to available information, fruit orchards should increase from the current 14,500 hectares to 23,000 by 2030. By 2030, up to 60 percent of arable land should be protected from erosion compared to 11 percent now.
More than a fifth of vines in Southern Moravia have been affected by early morning frosts over the last week according to the Association of Vineyard Owners. There will be a clear impact on the future grape crop but the association has so far been unable to put a figure on the estimated damage. Temperatures dropped to below zero on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The worst affected vines are expected to be those in valley locations. Severe frosts last affected vineyards in the region four years ago.
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