Czech government buys pig farm on Holocaust site

Former Czech PM Miloš Zeman refused to buy the farm more than 10 years ago

Czech pig breeder AGPI a.s. has agreed to sell its pig farm in Lety to the country’s government for an undisclosed sum.

The authorities have been negotiating the sale of the farm, which is located on the site of a Second World War concentration camp for the Roma (gypsies), for as much as 20 years, but, due to financial reasons, it is only now that the transaction has finally been agreed. Jan Cech, the vice-chairman of AGPI’s board of directors, told local news agency ČTK that, for the time being, the parties decided not to disclose the price the state will pay for the farm.

Czech President Miloš Zeman said recently that, at the time when he served as the country’s Prime Minister in the years 1998 to 2002, he refused to sign a deal to purchase the farm because it would cost taxpayers about CZK 400 million (€15.3m). Sources close to the deal estimate that the latest transaction was worth “several hundred million kronas”.

Business social responsibility

Cech said the government representatives were “very strict” during the negotiations, but that the business dimension of the talks was correct, despite the varying financial expectations of the two sides.

In the course of the negotiations, one of the options under discussion was the potential transfer of the pig farm to a different location that would be provided by the state authorities. However, AGPI eventually agreed to sell the pig farm to the Czech government.

If everything goes well, the deal should be signed by the end of the current parliamentary term,” Cech said.

With the Czech Republic scheduled to hold its forthcoming parliamentary vote on 20 and 21 October, this means the contract is likely to be signed in the next couple of months. A spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Culture said the transaction could be concluded even earlier, “at the beginning of the new school year” which is set to begin in September.

Located on a land plot of some 71,000 square metres, the farm in Lety comprises 13 facilities, which allow AGPI to breed some 13,000 pigs. In the years 2013 to 2015, AGPI modernised more than half of the facilities.

Once the sale is finalised, the Czech authorities plan to clean the area, turn the farm into a commemorative site and build a monument dedicated to the victims.

The meat producer has its assets concentrated in the country’s western regions. In addition to the farm in Lety, AGPI operates a further five facilities in the Czech Republic, located in Přílepov, Jeníčkova Lhota, Pořín, Turovec and Přeštěnice. The company produces more than 7,500 tonnes of meat per year, according to data released by AGPI.

The farm in Lety was established in 1972 by the state authorities of the then Czechoslovakia, and it was privatised following the country’s transformation into a market economy.

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