EU farm ministers urged to correct “totally unacceptable” support for pigmeat sector

The lack of EU support for pigmeat producers since the Russian market closed to the sector in January has been condemned by Europe’s farming unions as being “totally unacceptable” and in need of urgent attention.

This message will be hammered home in Brussels today, ahead of the first EU farm ministers’ meeting to be held since new farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, took office.

“It is totally unacceptable that no support has yet been allocated to the EU pigmeat sector when the Russian market has been closed since January and 24% of the total value of EU pigmeat exports are normally sent to Russia,” said Copa-Cogeca secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen, “Prices have decreased drastically in the past couple of months as the ban has really started to bite, especially in Denmark a major exporter.”

Calling for urgent action on EU pigmeat, alongside many other farm sectors, he said the proposal to cut support in the EU agriculture sector under the 2015 budget needed to by “rejected”, with today’s Brussels’ meeting playing an important part in that process.

“In the EU pigmeat sector, high quantities of low-value products that are currently in storage, like pig fat and offal, must be removed, to free up storage capacity,” he said, adding that emergency measures needed to be developed to allow these products to be used for non-food purposes, such as energy production.

“We also need support to find new market outlets for the produce and the removal of sanitary barriers and other unnecessary obstacles to trade. Promotion campaigns for pigmeat must also be set up once new markets have been found.”

Mr Pesonen also said that funds should be provided to co-finance schemes for the generic promotion of pigmeat on the internal EU market. 

“If further measures are required,” he added, “temporary aid to help store edible offal and pig fat could be provided.¬†Storage schemes could be used as a temporary stopgap measure until the emergence of new markets in non-EU countries”.

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