The proposed overhaul of the EU’s common agriculture policy after 2013 should lower subsidies for Czech farmers, the European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos told reporters in Prague on Monday. The 27-member-bloc’s planed reform of its agriculture policies should among other things introduce limits for basic agriculture subsidies; Czech farmers fear this could reduce subsidies by around 12 billion crowns per year.
Each of Prague’s quarters contributes to its famous diversity in its own way and offers a completely different experience. In today’s Spotlight we want to introduce you to a part of Prague that is a keystone for modern Czech cultural life, aptly dubbed by its inhabitants the “Independent Republic of Žižkov”.
The Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to double the EU funds that can be channelled into commercial fish farming between 2014 and 2020 according to the business paper E15. The current six year support programme until 2013 offers around 900 million crowns, of which EU funding accounts for around three-quarters of the total. A spokeswoman for the ministry said the extra funds could be used to put disused ponds back into production and also limit the population of cormorants which eat the fish. Joint lobbying for extra funds is planned together with other landlocked countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Luxembourg.
Czech farmers more than doubled their overall profits last year compared with 2009 according to preliminary figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. Estimated profit rose to 6.2 billion crowns, up 3.6 billion compared with 2009. Agricultural turnover rose by 0.8 billion to 98.5 billion. The biggest rise in profit came from crops, in part as a result of the sharp rise in cereal prices, but profits from livestock production fell slightly. The jump in profits exceeded expectations of the main farmers’ lobby.
The Czech Republic has just received the sort of global recognition it could do without – placed second in a world ranking of alcohol consumption in a World Health Organisation study. And local alcoholism experts say problem drinking is on the increase as Czechs seek an easy solution to increased stress and other problems.
Farmland used for growing genetically modified crops in the Czech Republic was down by a quarter in 2010 from 6480 to 4680 hectares, according to statistics published by ISAAA, a global knowledge centre on crop biotechnology. The report says that last year´s fall in the Czech Republic was one of the biggest ever. A fall was also registered in the whole of the EU, where the area for genetically modified crops decreased by 13 percent on average in 2010.
A World Health Organisation survey of alcohol consumption shows the Czech Republic in second place worldwide for per capita consumption, beaten only by the former Soviet state of Moldova. The just published WHO figures give an average Czech per capital alcohol consumption figure for those over 15 years old of 16.5 litres. This shoots up to 26.59 if the results for male drinkers alone are calculated. Moldovan figures come in at 19.2 litres per capita and 32.04 for male drinkers. The European per capita average is 12.2 litres. Whereas beer accounts for 57 percent of Czech average per capita alcohol consumption it accounts for 31 percent of the Moldovan consumption.
Last year’s grape harvest in the Czech Republic was the lowest in more than two decades, with a 50-percent drop year-on-year, according to data by the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. The average yield per hectare was also lower, dropping by over 33 percent to 2.87 tons per hectare. The head of the Czech winemakers association, Jiří Sedlo, quoted fungal diseases and changeable weather as the principal causes of the record low harvest. The price of wine has risen by around 10 percent as a result.