The Latvian bird industry association has called on the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government to immediately announce an emergency situation in the poultry sector related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting market disturbance in relation to the availability and prices of raw materials for poultry feed.
Anna Ērliha, a member of the board of the association, told Latvian Radio that around 50-70% of feed materials are purchased from Russia and Belarus, as well as some are supplied by Ukraine.
At present, the fundamental issue is the prices of feed materials, which have climbed by up to 50% compared to last year. If companies fail to find cheaper raw materials, then the industry could cease to exist, Ērliha said. She said that Latvian producers cannot significantly raise prices in a situation where there are countries with food reserves in the region that will be able to offer products at lower prices.
Therefore, the association calls on the government to provide sort for companies' current assets, for example in the form of interest-free loans. Around ten million euros would be needed for that.
The head of the Bureau of Agriculture Minister Jānis Eglīts told Latvian Radio that such a solution could be found to support the sector. At the same time, Ērliha said that due to the substantial price increase of feed materials, consumers will also have to count on more expensive poultry products. Price increases for meat and eggs could be 10-50%.