Sándor Kukovics, International Zootechnics Specialist, Hungary: Whenever possible, greater reserves should be created for the future.
Prof. Univ. Dr. Sándor Kukovics is one of the most important international specialists in the field of animal husbandry and coordinator of the sheep / goat sector in Hungary.
RALF: What are your advice for zootechnical farmers in the new economic context?
Sándor Kukovics: There is a rather interesting situation where direct sales have a rather limited opportunity to reach the final consumer due to the closed markets. There are few sheep and goat keepers who are not adversely affected by the current situation. Due to the limited operation of slaughterhouses, sales for meat are only possible for farm slaughter, which is only a semi-legal activity as required by regulators. At the same time, live sheep sales and exports have fortunately been steady in recent weeks due to transportation facilitations. The problem is the unpredictable demand of the traditional Italian market for exports, but fortunately the shift to exports to alternative markets has started, which has helped a lot in the situation of sheep farmers. However, milk sales are in a less favourable position due to the sudden disappearance of consumers (HORECA sector, tourism).
The sale of milk is less of a problem for sheep’s milk, because processors make products with a longer shelf life anyway, and they can buy them until their storage is full of finished products. Sales from home processing to the direct consumer affect only a few farms. In the case of goat’s milk, the problems are much greater. Only those producers were able to find a bridging solution that formed their customer base and were able to serve them by sending a direct package or home delivery. Fortunately, some markets are slowly reopening and worries are easing somewhat, but unfortunately, a significant proportion of consumers have seen their earnings on such products fall.
Following a recent Heifer Board meeting in Little Rock, Dr. Devendra sat down with Christian De Vries for a relaxed and candid interview. They discussed a wide range of issues on the development of goats, including: the evolution and importance of IGA, consistent interest and commitment to the development of the species, trends in their multi-functional values, and priorities for the future.
You’ve been involved with IGA since the beginning. How did it start?
“Few people know the background that led to the formation of IGA. It was born during a bus ride for a field excursion, during the 2nd International Goat Conference in Tours, France in 1971.* I made the suggestion to Prof. Christian Gall from Germany who was sitting next to me that that we move to form a professional association to provide information and promote the development of goats. This led to the formation of The World Committee on Goats in which Prof. Gall was made the President and I was elected as the Vice-President, with the Secretariat in France. Since then I have served over a record 17 years as Vice-President, by my own choice, to work with colleagues so that I could play a more effective role in spreading the regional focus and development of goats, assisting the Presidents, and finding venues for the international conferences in which I was directly involved with four.”
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.