Slovakia: Avian Influenza in zoo & other news

An occurrence of Avian Influenza virus at Bojnice National Zoo (Nitra region) has been confirmed. "We have shut down the entire Bojnice zoo until further notice. Currently, we're running tests on all birds housed in the zoo to find out whether other specimens, even the exotic ones, have contracted the virus," Other news: share of domestic foodstuff is 41%, food prices are lower and Slovaks spend on average € 500 in bars & restaurants.

zoom on a bird behind a fence
©Pixabay

Nitra: Avian Flu Confirmed at Bojnice Zoo, Slovakia

An occurrence of Avian Influenza virus at Bojnice National Zoo (Nitra region) has been confirmed, TASR learnt from Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Gabriela Matecna (Slovak National Party/SNS) and State Veterinary and Food Administration director Jozef Bires on Saturday.
Speaking during her visit to Nitra-based Agrokomplex expo, Matecna confirmed that dead birds were discovered on Friday (January 24) and the presence of avian flu confirmed on Saturday. Measures are being taken at the moment to prevent the disease from spreading.

"We have shut down the entire Bojnice zoo until further notice.

Currently, we're running tests on all birds housed in the zoo to find out whether other specimens, even the exotic ones, have contracted the virus," added Matecna. According to Beres, a duck and Eurasian spoonbill succumbed to the virus after a potential contact with wild birds. "I think that the staff underestimated this. After all, we've been talking about the flu for over a month and the fact that it is spread by migratory birds," he said. Beres underlined that birds and poultry must be isolated. "We'll apply quarantine and if there were more deaths, more infected specimens, then some animals, no matter how precious, will need to be put down," he added.

Source: TASR

UPDATE 28 JANUARI 2020

Following the discovery of dead birds, the zoo closed its doors to the public on January 24, until further notice.

“It will stay closed for at least one month,” said Jozef Bíreš, head of the State Veterinary and Food Administration (ŠVPS), as quoted by the TASR newswire. “It’s impossible to isolate the animals since the zoo is open to the public. So there would be the risk of transmitting the disease to humans, who can spread it further.”

Meanwhile, the zoo had to kill 41 birds due to the avian flu. They were all kept in one group with the dead birds or behaved unnaturally, TASR wrote.

Preventive measures taken

The respective authorities will decide when to reopen the zoo after 30 days. Since the condition for re-opening is that there is no new case reported during this period, it is possible the zoo may remain closed for longer, Bíreš explained.

The zoo meanwhile adopted precautions to stop the disease from spreading. It is also following the instructions of the regional ŠPVS branch in Prievidza, its spokesperson Jaroslav Slašťan told TASR.

He confirmed that the zoo will remain closed to the public until further notice. The zoo also had to adopt a stricter operational regime to secure the biological safety of birds breeding and to protect the employees who work with them. They will also not accept any injured birds for recovery or move the animals from and to the zoo until further notice.

In the meantime, the nearby falconry group Aquila from Bojnice also closed its complex, which houses about three dozens birds of prey, and adopted some precautions. They did so shortly after the first case of avian flu in Zbehy near Nitra was confirmed, the head of the group Jozef Tomík confirmed for TASR.

27. Jan 2020 at 13:34  | Compiled by Spectator staff

Average Slovak Spends €500 Annually in Restaurants and Bars

An average Slovak in 2018 spent around €500 in restaurants, canteens, cafes and bars, analyst of WOOD & Company Eva Sadovska has pointed out, citing data from Eurostat and the Statistics Office.

This expenditure made up around 5.4 percent of household budgets, with the total amount spent in the country for these purposes in 2018 reaching €2.7 billion, which equalled to 3 percent of GDP. In 2008, the amount spent in restaurants and similar facilities reached €2.2 billion, which represented €400 per capita per year. It made up 5.9 percent of household spending and equalled 3.3 percent of GDP at the time.

Significant differences in spending in restaurants, canteens, cafes and bars were seen among individual EU-member countries, with the Irish being on top (€2,880 per capita), followed by the Austrians (€2,430) and the Spanish (€2,020).

Conversely, the Romanians were at the opposite end on €120 per capita per year, while the Polish and Bulgarians were somewhat less frugal on €220 and €230 per capita per year, respectively. When it comes to the Visegrad Four grouping (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), people from both the Czech Republic(€620) and Hungary (€510) spent more in restaurants than Slovaks in 2018.

Share of domestic foodstuff 41%

The share of domestic foodstuff on the market increased only by 3 percent in the last five years, to almost 41 percent. The most common domestic products include milk, eggs, and mineral waters. Slovakia could, however, feed by 1 million people more than the country's population is if domestic food production increased more rapidly and was funded better. Instead, Slovakia imports four million tonnes of food each year, which costs EUR4.5 billion. Most products come from the Czech Republic. This, however, has another negative effect: an increase in carbon footprint.

Source: TASR

Only 4 out of 10 Products in Food Chain Stores Slovak in 2019

Representatives of the Slovak Agricultural and Food Chamber (SPPK) on Tuesday stated that they find it appalling that the around 700 lorries that import food into Slovakia on a daily basis contain mainly fruit, vegetables and meat, i.e. goods that can be supplied by Slovak producers.
SPPK head Emil Macho noted that according to a survey, only four out of ten products offered by food chain stores in 2019 were supplied by Slovak producers. The survey was carried out in 45 stores belonging to six chains. The proportion of Slovak products on shop shelves stood at 40.74 percent last year, an increase of only 0.6 percent (worth around €45 million) when compared to 2018.

This proportion has been growing very slowly over the past six years. The steepest year-on-year increase was registered in 2015, when it reached 1.07 percent compared to 2014. In all other years the figure has fluctuated at around 0.2 percent. Slovak products were most numerous when it came to milk (making up 69 percent), eggs (67 percent), bottled mineral water (61 percent), honey (53 percent), wine (50 percent) and bakery products including bread (50 percent).

Conversely, they were least common among packed meat products (26 percent), processed vegetables (26 percent) and edible oils (17 percent).
The revenues of the Slovak food industry stood at €4.42 billion in 2018.

Source: TASR

Growers report losses amounting to € 350.000 - € 400.000

Farmers across Slovakia have reported numerous losses on their crops during the past year. Many were destroyed by forest animals. In Senica (Trnava Region), the most problems were caused by wild boars and fallow deer, who ate mostly sunflower and maize. The forest animals there caused damages amounting to some EUR350,000-400,000. In Prievidza (Trencin Region), they could not even harvest maize as it was completely eaten by the animals. The monitoring of the Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber showed that sunflower and maize were the two crops whose harvest was the worst. While the harvest of sunflower dropped by 9 percent in 2019 compared with the previous year, in the case of maize, the harvest was by 16 percent lower. Apart from forest animals, also weather had a negative impact.

Source: TASR

Food prices are modestly lower

Starting this year lower value added tax rate on further foodstuffs came into effect. The measure was pushed through by the SNS last year. However, analyst with Wood&Company Eva Sadovska says that lower VAT rate in the case of healthy foodstuffs does necessarily mean their lower prices in the eventual inflation. The impact of the lower VAT rate will also depend on the final share of healthy food in the total consumer's food basket.