Lithuania's Minister of Agriculture Virginija Baltraitienė has not only to decide how to prevent the worst effects of African swine fever in the country, but also to plan the future of the Lithuanian agriculture.
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Asked by the daily Vakaro Žinios about prospects for livestock farming in the country in case African swine fever spread further, the minister said that Lithuanian farmers may be forced to replace pigs with other kinds of animals.

"Sheep, goat rearing, cattle farming, which is a priority at this financial period of the EU. Let us hope that, in the future, there will be more EU assistance for this sector. In addition, developing stockbreeding helps create many jobs; as a result, social problems are being solved at the same time, stockbreeding generates higher added value.

"Bearing in mind difficult relations with Russia, a key task at present is to diversify our markets.Starting next year, our attaché in China will begin working, he is instructed to work with the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese markets. Dairy export to Brazil is also under discussion; we expect the market of the United States to open up.

"To be honest, I believe that the European Commission should make a financial contribution to solving the issue of markets as well, as we will not close borders, this plague may reach the old EU member states, therefore, a more global approach to this issue should be taken," said Minister Baltraitienė.

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