Czech Communist Party chair alleges pork is expensive because the farm on the former concentration camp for Roma was closed, but statistics show he is lying
Vojtěch Filip, chair of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), tweeted on 7 August that the buyout of the industrial pig farm at Lety u Písku that was located on the site of a former concentration camp for Roma was a "crime". He also alleged that the rising cost of pork is a direct consequence of the buyout, which was decided by the Czech Government during the administration of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
Filip earned sharp criticism on social media for his remark. "I am reminding everybody who is angry about the constantly rising price of pork that the Government of the Czech Republic led by B. Sobotka bought out the highly efficient enterprise at Lety for half a billion crowns and closed it without replacing it, and thereby Czech pork production fell to beneath 30 % of the pork consumed by us, that was a crime," he tweeted.
According to the website of the AGPI firm, which owned the farm, their current annual production of pork is approximately 5 600 tons. In 2017, when the buyout of the farm was approved, their production was approximately 7 500 tons.
Last year the total production of pork throughout the entire Czech Republic was slightly more than 210 000 tons. Similar numbers for overall Czech production exist for previous years as well.
That means the AGPI firm is contributing to about 3 % of overall pork production. If we were to consider the decline in AGPI's pork production after the closure of the Lety facility as resulting in a loss of 1 900 tons - which is pure speculation - then that fall in production is the equivalent of just 0.9 % of the country's total pork production.
Similarly small-scale numbers are revealed by the number of pigs raised as well. From 2017-2019 there were approximately 1.5 million pigs total in the Czech Republic.
The Lety farm, prior to its closure, held approximately 13 000 pigs, or about 0.9 % of the overall number of pigs in the country. Moreover, when the farm was bought out, the chair of the AGPI board said the firm could continue producing pork because it has another facility for doing so.
Filip has also lied about the data on the country's self-sufficiency in pork production. The president of the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic, Zdeněk Jandejsek, said in May that depending on the parameters used to measure the country's self-sufficiency, as far as pork production is concerned the country is between 35 % to 50 % self-sufficient, not less than 30 %, as Filip has deceptively claimed.
Other experts have also been refuting the absurd tweet by the Communist Party chair and say that one factor in the rising cost of pork is the big demand for Czech pigs in China, where domestic breeds have been decimated by a disease of African origin. "Pork is an important item on the Chinese household menu, and in the most populous country on Earth it is now in short supply," Czech Fund economist Lukáš Kovanda pointed out.
"The cause is the slaughter and disposal of locally-raised pigs there associated with the outbreak of the African swine fever epidemic. The number of pigs and piglets in China is the lowest since the year 2011," the economist said.
In China, according to Kovanda, as many as half of all pigs are infected with the disease. The cost of pork there may increase by another 50 % this year.
According to representatives of the Konexe organization in the Czech Republic, the Communists who were tortured in Nazi concentration camps must be turning over in their graves at Filip's words. "Mr Filip is certainly not such an absolute ass - he definitely knows the price of pork in Europe has not gone up because the operation of the Lety pig farm was closed," Miroslav Brož of Konexe told news server Romea.cz.
"Rather, [Filip] is doing his best to play the populist tune of antigypsyism and anti-Romani hatred," Brož said. The building of the industrial pig farm at Lety was decided at the beginning of the 1970s, the time of communist "normalization" in Czechoslovakia.
Ten feed halls were erected there, each with room for 1 000 pigs, and the construction was completed by the close of November 1974. Those who commissioned the construction of the farm, those who carried it out, and those who were local residents were all informed of the existence of the concentration camp for Romani people at the site during the Protectorate era, and not infrequently those involved with the farm had themselves been eyewitnesses to the camp's operations.
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