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Help for Ailing Italian Pig Industry

by 5m Editor
26 May 2009, at 7:48am

ITALY - The Italian Ministry of Agriculture has proposed significant government assistance for the country's pig breeders, with the aim of a "strategic revamp" of the ailing sector.

The ministry may be planning a mix of subsidised credit and government purchases with support from banks and agricultural organisations.

Brussels has already reviewed the proposal and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture is hoping to launch the plan by July 2009.

Italy has devised a plan to automate all regional slaughter structures that process more than 7 million animals each year.

Pig production in 2008 increased by 0.5 per cent to 12 882 000 head, according to the Italian Pig Breeders Association (ANAS).

Imports of live swine in 2009 decreased by 40 per cent (32 000 tonnes) from 2007 levels. Italy's pig sector produces 9.3m animals annually, worth €2.3 billion.

Italy has not enacted any new trade regulations for swine, pork, or pork products as a result of the H1N1 outbreak.

Despite assurances that pigmeat is not a source of the virus, consumption has declined by an estimated 8-10 per cent and prices have fallen 5 per cent to less than €1/kg.