Exporters estimate that in 2012 the volume of beef exported to Russia accounted for LTL 210 million (EUR 61 million), while in 2013 when the first restrictions were imposed the volumes went down to LTL 120 million (EUR 34.8 million). In the first eight months of this year, the beef exports to Russia accounted for LTL 85 million (EUR 24.6 million), while the market was completely closed off in September.
Moreover, the current meat consumption trends in Lithuania are unfavourable to beef producers.
In a year, a Lithuanian eats an average of 43 kilograms of pork, 21 kilograms of chicken and only 4 kilograms of beef. Meanwhile, residents of Western Europe normally consume 10-15 kilograms of beef in a year per capita.
“Currently, Lithuania produces much more beef than it is consumed locally. Meat production costs do not cover the cost price, therefore, our farmers are facing the issue of survival,” said Jonas Talmantas, head of the Lithuanian Farmers’ Union.
As reported, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture officially proposed to add Lithuania to the list of countries that are eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States. On 17 December the proposal was submitted for a public debate. According to Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, this marks the end of negotiations with the US officials.