It’s pretty clear that European agriculture is bracing itself for a further wave of reform which will trim and re-shape the famed Common Agricultural Policy. But early discussions on what form the reforms should take have already highlighted deep divides between Czech farmers themselves and with the agriculture ministry.
Czechs are still the world’s leading beer drinkers, but consumer habits are changing. Whereas once the biggest share of beer produced was consumed at the pub, now Czechs are taking it home. While pubs and restaurants are selling less beer, sales of bottled beer have not dropped and sales of canned beer have seen a sharp rise.
Based on the second estimate of this year’s harvest, it is expected that the production of basic cereals will reach an amount of 6,709 thousand tonnes and the production of rape seed will be 1,199 thousand tonnes. Compared to the above-average harvest of the previous year, the production of basic cereals is down by 13.2 percent and rape seed by 11.8% percent, the Czech Statistical Office reported on Friday.
The grain and rape harvest is predicted to be a lot lower in 2017. The cereals harvest is predicted to be 13.2 percent lower than last year’s above average yield at 6.7 million tonnes. The rape harvest is seen down 11.8 percent at 1.19 million tonnes. The area under cereals cultivation was slightly down this year while that under cultivation for rape was 0.3 percent higher. The harvest for poppy seed is seen down by almost a fifth with the area under cultivation down by 8.3 percent.
Czech importers of eggs from the Netherlands and Belgium have been told they must carry out laboratory checks for the insecticide Fipronil. The demand comes from the State Veterinary Administration. After eggs have been cleared they can be sold on the market. Eggs contaminated with the insecticide, which is harmful to humans and should not be used on chickens, have been found in neighbouring Slovakia. Millions of eggs have been withdrawn from the Netherlands, where the contamination took place, and Belgium, where it was first noticed. The insecticide is used against fleas, mites, and ticks.
Just two months after a strict smoking ban came into effect in pubs and restaurants around the Czech Republic smokers are getting acquainted with a novel product on the market –heat-not-burn tobacco products which are said to be less detrimental to health and which might allow them to “smoke” in public places once again. The Czech authorities have yet to set the norms for these products which are something between a classic and electronic cigarette.
The Czech Republic could become the dustbin of Europe with regard to sub-quality foodstuffs brought into the country without the help of the European Union, the Czech Secretary of State for European Affairs, Aleš Chmelař, commented on Friday. Chmelař added that only the EU could take a position on whether cross border discrimination existed or not. The issue of lower quality foodstuffs being sold in Central Europe was taken up by the V4 grouping of countries last week at a meeting in Budapest. Chmelař said that Visegrad leaders would address the issue again in September and hoped to see progress being made.
A team Prague’s Czech Technical University have beaten 54 teams from around the world to win a Microsoft sponsored competition aimed at encouraging teamwork and technology. The winning Czech entry focused on a mobile phone application which allows children with diabetes to easily check their blood insulin levels so that they avoid the risk of seizures. The winning team in the Imagine Cup wins 250,000 US dollars.
Double standards in food products, sold by multinational companies across the EU, have long been a sticking point not only for the Czech Republic but also other countries in the Visegrad 4. Over the years, studies found that products sold by multinationals under identical brand names differed considerably, which Czechs and others say is unethical. Now, the ground has begun to shift.
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