The Serbian meat industry is facing a collapse because it can’t sell pork, beef and poultry meat after hotels and restaurants closed down because of the coronavirus pandemic and exports have stopped.
Zoran Matijevic, owner of the Matijevic Meat Industry, told the Beta news agency that the market is full because exports have dropped and there are much fewer tourists. He said the demand for meat on the Serbian market is low, the offer high and prices have dropped. “Producers are facing a huge problem,” he said adding that pork prices are 10-15 percent lower than a year ago.
Matijevic said that beef farmers have been facing problems for two years because Agriculture Minister Branislav Nedimovic told them they would be able to export 5,000 tons of beef to Turkey and farmers increased their production but the exports did not come close to that amount. He said poultry meat prices were 20 percent lower than cost. He said that the reasons why meat prices have dropped include large imports of meat for processing free of customs duties. That forced two large meat retailers to close down their slaughterhouses.
Milenko Djurdjevic, owner of the Djurdjevic meat processing plant said that exports of beef to Turkey, Italy and China stopped in March because of the pandemic. “We exported 500 bulls a week and we have 5,000 ready to go now but there are no buyers,” he said.