PSA scheme closed after costs hit £21 million

The European Commission’s (EC) decision to close the pigmeat Private Storage Aid Scheme (PSA) after just three weeks of operation was due to “planned volumes of products” having been reached, incurring an estimated cost of €27.6 million (£21m).

Member States voted for closure during a Common Market Organisations (CMO) committee session, with the most recent information showing that the total quantity of product put into storage, most of it for a period of five months, was 89,841 tonnes.

“An initial analysis of price developments since the scheme was introduced on January 4 suggests that the decline in prices seen at the end of 2015 has been halted and there are indications of a modest recovery in prices in the early weeks of 2016,” it was subsequently stated by the EC.

Industry bodies don’t agree, however, with the National Pig Association (NPA) describing the move as a “shock” which has left UK producers “grappling with the fastest price falls for more than a generation”.

Highlighting the fact, via its website, that the UK was one of the states to have voted for PSA closure, NPA said that such action meant producers would view “Elizabeth Truss’s much-trumpeted support for British farming with some cynicism”.

The EC statement also declared, potentially adding insult to injury, that in addition to the PSA scheme, 15 member states have notified their intention to use some of the direct targeted aid from the Commission’s €420 million solidarity package, for the pigmeat sector.

The EC also said the sector can “benefit from other measures applied in support for the wider livestock sector”.

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