The rugged mountainous terrain in Slovakia doesn't provide the vast fertile land that produces large harvests in Hungary and Poland who then look to the large European market to sell to. Slovakia hardly exports at all to anyone. But there is one area that Slovak farmers are trying to push for exporting: animal feed.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture , animal feed produced in Slovakia is at equal or higher quality than in EU countries. This provides a rare opportunity for Slovak agriculture to compete in the EU.
"The high quality is due to putting the newest knowledge from scientific research to use in growing and production of animal feed," said Ivan Lichuar, director of the animal feed institute in Ivánka near Bratislava. "The animal feed industry is well developed in Slovakia," he said. "There are many large-scale production facilities, but also a growing number of small-scale producers. That means competition, which has pushed quality to new heights."
In all there are 49 large-scale companies producing animal feed as a semi-finished product and up to 200 small-scale ones. Each county has a plant which processes the product into a finished product. The largest plants are in Trnava, Nitra, Podunajské Biskupice, and Trenčín.
Though not geared for exporting animal feed - almost all buyers are Slovak farmers - producers have sent the semi-finished product to Russia, Yugoslavia and some African countries.
Anton Pitoňák, director of the EU integration department at the Ministry of Agriculture, confirmed that the ministry views production of animal feed as a strength and is looking for way to build it up to be a strong export commodity.
"Animal feed can compete on the market with the EU," said Lichaur.
17. Jul 1997 at 0:00 | Daniel J. Stoll