Belarus’ Ministry of Economy recently released a report revealing that 91% of meat producers in the country believe current prices do not allow businesses to achieve even minimal levels of profitability.
“Analysis of producer opinions about the required level of increase in purchasing prices shows that, in the two main types of agricultural activity – the production of milk and meat, only 8-9% of producers consider the current level of prices as appropriate to achieve the desired level of return on sales, while 80% of executives believe the current situation requires a significant increase in sales price – from 10% upwards," said specialists from the Ministry’s Economic Research Institute.
Meat purchase prices in Belarus are set by the government based on the state order. Producers are allowed sell meat at a higher price, but it is unlikely anyone will buy meat at a higher price than in the state shops.
“Meat prices in Belarus are 25-30% behind prices in Russia. So 1kg of poultry meat in our country in recent months cost an average of US$2. As a result, we have absolutely no profit and, depending on the cost of feed, are forced to break even or work with losses. Business in the country will begin to develop only if the price rises by 30-50% compared to the current rate,” said local livestock producer Yuri Shishkevich.
However, analysts were skeptical about whether an increase in meat prices was likely.
“An increase in purchase price could be very dangerous, because meat is a very important social product and even the smallest price increase would make it unaffordable for a significant portion of the population,” said agricultural analyst Eugene Gerden.
“Belarus currently faces difficult economic situation – the average salary is US$455 per month and, last year, it fell by 8%, so the government is seeking at all costs to avoid a rise in prices for socially important products.”