The Agriculture Ministry is preparing a national strategy for exports of agricultural commodities and food products and the document should be ready by the end of this year, ministry spokesman Jan Zacek answered to CTK's question.
The ministry, as well as the Agricultural Chamber and Food Chamber, believe that Czech agricultural exports, over 90 percent of which now target the EU, should focus more on Russia and other former Soviet states in the future. The Balkan states, Mediterranean area and Persian Gulf countries are also interesting for the exports.
Zacek said that in particular not too remote markets were interesting for domestic exporters. This is because of the limited lifespan of food products as well as the Czech Republic's geographical location as it has no access to sea.
"So this concerns in particular markets to the east of us, markets around the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkan countries," Zacek remarked.
Apart from the EU, Russia is the biggest importer of Czech agricultural products, he recalled. Czech producers should try to export mainly processed food products and food specialities with a high share of value added. Exports of unprocessed materials now prevail and many experts criticise this.
Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba said at agricultural exhibition Zeme zivitelka at the end of August that his ministry would help Czech farmers with exports to third countries. Both professional chambers are to prepare for him a list of priority export commodities and countries by the end of October.
"The Agricultural Chamber cooperates with minister Kuba on the project for support to exports of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation," the chamber's president Jan Veleba told CTK, adding that the chamber would present the proposal to Kuba by end-October.
Veleba named cereal seed, seed potatoes, hops and breeding cattle as commodities interesting for exports. The Czech Republic can offer to Russia also dairy and meat products, fruit and agricultural technologies.
Food Chamber spokeswoman Dana Vecerova believes that it would be good for the Czech Republic to have commercial attaches in territories interesting for exports or creation of joint ventures.
"It is also necessary to define more precisely the powers for support to the sector and to distribute them among the Agriculture Ministry, Industry and Trade Ministry, State Agricultural Intervention Fund and CzechTrade, or possibly also CzechInvest," Vecerova noted.
The state should at the same time strengthen and adjust activities of the Czech Export Bank (CEB) and the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP) in support to exports.
Czech agricultural exports were record-high last year when their value reached almost Kc121bn. However, imports of agricultural and food products was the highest ever as well. It increased by Kc15.5bn to Kc155.5bn last year. The result was a record deficit of almost Kc35bn.
Czech trade in agricultural and food products has been in a deficit since 1994.
Russia is traditionally the Czech Republic's largest trading partner in agricultural commodities out of the countries outside of the EU. The Czech Republic has a high surplus in agricultural trade with Russia.
The main Czech commodities in agricultural and food exports to Russia are beer, poppy, non-chocolate sweets and whey.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
Back to News Headlines