NPA & NFU urge the EU to act on PSA, sow stalls and Russian ban

A call for the urgent reopening of Private Storage Aid (PSA) for pigmeat, aimed this time at lower value fats, lards and offal, heads a list of demands submitted jointly to the European Commission (EC) today by the National Pig Association (NPA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The submission is the NPA/NFU’s response to the February 15 invitation by EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, for all interested parties to table “concrete ideas” on EU market support measures in relation to Europe’s struggling pigmeat and dairy sectors.

The deadline set for the submission of ideas was today, a schedule set to allow Mr Hogan’s team to collate all submissions for discussion at the next Council of Farm Ministers’ meeting on March 14.

The NPA/NFU submission is as follows:

“The commission must reopen PSA for pigmeat having opened and closed PSA in January. Hitting the target of 90,000 tonnes in such a short space of time demonstrates the requirement for support within the market place. The closure of the scheme was seen as being a response to stabilising prices across the EU, yet prices in the UK continue to fall and should they stabilise will remain well below cost of production for some time. Rather than focusing on prime cuts the commission’s PSA scheme should target lower value fats, lards and offal that have strong export markets that will absorb the reintroduction of excess product at a later date.

“The commission must push for proper enforcement of the partial sow stall ban. Failure to properly
enforce the ban will lead to continued supply of pigmeat from illegal systems unfairly competing with
legal supply in an already saturated market. Those producers compliant with the Directive continue to
be severely disadvantaged due to the added cost of production. There are still six countries that have
not complied and concerns that illegal farms are still operating within so called compliant countries –
FVO resource to check compliance must be addressed. Finally, to ensure European farmers remain
competitive, the EC’s financing of prevention and control measures for ASF in Ukraine should be extended to other ‘at risk’ countries that share borders with the EU.

“The pigmeat sector is particularly suffering due to the geo-restriction on exports to Russia but also
because of SPS restrictions as a result of the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Eastern
Europe. We believe the EU health certificate should be re-negotiated to allow fat, lard and offal
to be exported from countries unaffected by ASF as a matter of urgency.”

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Freelance journalist Colin Ley is Pig World's website news reporter