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.