Pigmeat storage is “right step” but action could be better

Copa-Cogeca has welcomed the opening of a pigmeat storage scheme by the European Commission (EC) as a “step in the right direction” but has also voiced its “regret” over what the scheme doesn’t include.

While agreeing that the scheme should help improve the difficult pigmeat market situation in the EU, Copa-Cogeca added that it “strongly regretted that the products mostly affected by the Russian ban are not included”.

“We will keep working with the EC to introduce complementary measures,” said the chairman of the Copa-Cogeca Working Party on Pigmeat, Antonio Tavares, listing the finding of alternative uses for the fat that is currently in storage, finding new alternative markets, the removal of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers and promotion measures, as key missing factors.

Despite such reservations, the overall comment from the organisation, which represents European farmers and farm cooperatives, was positive.

“The sector has been hard hit by the Russian ban on EU pigmeat exports, being a victim of an unjustified and unproportional SPS embargo since February 2014,” said Copa-Cogeca’s secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen. 

“Until now, no action has been taken to support the sector. Prices have reached critical levels, being less than the EU’s reference threshold price for over 18 consecutive weeks. This has a huge impact on producers’ margins, forcing some already out of business.”

Mr Tavares then added: “We therefore support the Commission’s initiative to take supplies off the market by opening the storage scheme. It is a step in the right direction.”

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