The prospect of a new private storage (PSA) scheme for pigmeat and a commitment to increase next year’s promotional budget beyond the €81 million (£59m) already assured, were two pigmeat-specific items announced by the European Commission (EC) at today’s extraordinary Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels.
The Commission’s unveiling of fresh help for the EU’s pig sector came as part of an all-species commitment to a “comprehensive support package” worth €500m (£365m) which EC vice-president, Jyrki Katainen, said was a robust and decisive response to the difficulties being experienced by producers.
“This demonstrates that the Commission takes its responsibility towards farmers very seriously and is prepared to back it up with the appropriate funds,” said the vice-president. “This is particularly important, given other competing budgetary demands.”
On pigmeat measures in particular, the EC statement read as follows:
“A new private storage scheme for pigmeat: the Commission is ready to table a proposal to open a new PSA scheme for pigmeat.
“Promotion programmes: The Commission will increase the promotion budget in 2016, in addition to the €81m already committed. A specific part of that enlarged budget will be reserved for the dairy and pigmeat sectors.”
The Commission also said that it “foresees” the promotion budget, including spending on generic pigmeat promotion on the internal market, rising gradually towards a total of €200m (£146m) by 2019.
Headline image shows NFU president, Meurig Raymond, at the heart of today’s protest in Brussels