War in Ukraine affects Slovenia’s self-sufficiency

Braslovče – A round-table discussion on self-sufficiency has heard that the war in Ukraine has affected Slovenia’s food self-sufficiency. The war has led to a significant rise in the prices of some agricultural products, while farm-gate prices are lagging behind the rise in the prices of raw materials.

Slovenia is currently self-sufficient in milk, beef, poultry and eggs, Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Aleš Irgolič said at the panel discussion at a congress of entrepreneurs of the Savinja region in Braslovče near the city of Celje on Thursday.

He said that the countries that had stopped exporting wheat and flour during the Ukraine war were now in fact dictating the price of grains.

Slovenia’s annual exports of wheat have been 90,000 tonnes, while the country imports most agricultural products from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, he said.

Izidor Krivec, director of the Celjske Mesnine meat processing company, believes the war has led to a rise in meat prices. “At the moment, it’s impossible to predict future trends in meat prices, which are at historically high levels.”

The prices of beef and pork have risen by 80% since last October and March, respectively, and fertilisers by 400-500%, while the cost of raw materials has doubled.

He estimates Slovenia to be 35% self-sufficient in pork. “We need to decide whether we’ll have pigs or not. A farmer needs to know if he can sell a pig at a profitable price.”

Boštjan Čulk, director of the Braslovče Agricultural Cooperative, urged the government to support small farmers, arguing the incentives for farms are too low.

He said that in Braslovče area, many small farms have collapsed over the past twenty years.

Rok Mihelič, president of the Slovenian Agronomy Association, pointed to good soil as a prerequisite for quality agricultural production. He believes the soil in Slovenia is not polluted.