Europe’s farming leaders have warned the European Commission (EC) that the €500 million aid package agreed by EU Farm Ministers yesterday is “far from sufficient” in the face of export market losses regarding Russia worth €5.5 billion a year.
“EU farmers are paying the price for international politics,” said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen, adding that prices are below production costs in many countries and farmers’ incomes are half the average level, forcing some to close down.
“There are a few positive elements in the package but it falls short of our expectations. It includes very few measures to help manage the market or deal with the increasing volatility and short term problems.”
Speaking specifically about the EC’s pigmeat proposals, he welcomed the new private storage aid scheme but said that lessons needed to be learned from the previous scheme which ran in April/May this year and that higher compensation rates needed to be applied this time round.
“Pig fat and lard must also be included,” he said.
“We also welcome the fact that EU promotion programmes have been boosted and that the Commission will step up work on finding new markets. However, the package lacks export insurance that could cover some of the trading risks.”
NFU president, Meurig Raymond, said that while he welcomed the overall EC package, it remained unclear, at this stage, how much would come to Britain.
“We also believe there needs to be a fundamental culture change across the whole supply chain and we very much welcome the Commission’s steps to address this so far,” he said. “However, we need to go much further if we are to offer British farmers the same protection they receive at home when they trade abroad.”