Coronacrisis a further blow for Croatia’s struggling meat industry

By bne IntelliNews August 19, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is putting further pressure on companies in Croatia’s slaughterhouse and meat processing industry, which was already struggling in the face of cheap imports, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on August 19. 

According to Mario Ravlic, president of the HGK slaughterhouse and red meat processing group, Croatian producers have been in a difficult situation since the country joined the EU in 2013, and the market was opened up to large European companies. 

According to the HGK, in 2012 Croatia imported around 80,000 tonnes of meat and 10,000 tonnes of meat products. By 2019, imports had soared to 150,000 tonnes of meat and 24,000 tonnes of meat products.

Ravlic appealed for government help to shore up the industry through the current crisis, which caused the situation to deteriorate further, with the domestic market “even more pressured by extremely low-priced goods”, on top of reduced consumption and higher costs associated with complying with new sanitary standards. 

“The impact of the coronacrisis, the loss of revenue from the sale of hides, and rising costs of disposing of by-products have brought the domestic meat processing industry to the brink, and other challenges that await us could end it. In other words, it is high time for this industry to become a national strategic priority,” said Ravlic. 

Further challenges are anticipated, not least because Brexit is expected to lead to large surpluses of certain EU products, further pushing down prices. There is also the danger of the coronavirus entering domestic slaughterhouses or an outbreak of African swine fever, warned the HGK.

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