The price of pork in Bulgaria saw a record increase in 2019, at a rate second only to the hyperinflation in the country in 1996/97, the Association of Meat Processors in Bulgaria said in its newsletter.
The association attributed the price increase to the outbreaks of African Swine Fever and the subsequent slaughter of many thousand sick and healthy pigs.
While Bulgaria’s annual consumer price index (CPI) recorded three per cent inflation in November, according to figures released by the National Statistical Institute on December 16, the pork price rose by 50 per cent.
The association said that at the beginning of 2019, the different types of pig meat ranged from 6.50 to 7.20 leva a kilogram, rising to nine leva a kg in October and 10 leva in December.
“This is a record for an increase in foodstuff prices in Bulgaria and is exceeded only by hyperinflation,” the association said in its bulletin.
The fastest and most dramatic increase in the price of pork was in Bulgaria’s city of Rousse on the Danube River in summer 2019.
Because of African Swine Fever, three large pig farms in northern Bulgaria were closed. About 20 per cent of Bulgarian pig breeding had been destroyed, the association said.
At the large retail chains, most pork was imported, but its price was very high there too, it said.
Towards the end of November, the Commodity Exchange and Markets Commission, which monitors wholesale prices of various foodstuffs, said that there was a slight decrease in pork prices on the European markets and a decline in the increase in the price in Bulgaria.
However, African Swine Fever has not gone away, and even in winter – when veterinarians had not expected it to spread – there had been new cases, the association said.
The drastic increase in the pork price was not matched by an increase in the price of chicken in Bulgaria, which in 2019 had gone up by about seven per cent.
Pork is the most widely-produced and consumed meat in Bulgaria, and accounts for about 80 per cent of the country’s total meat production. Pork consumption has risen in previous years, to close to 10kg per capita in recent years.