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Recent Successes & Future Challenges for Pig Sector

by 5m Editor
7 April 2011, at 1:35pm

EU - Farmers' group, Copa-Cogeca, has highlighted measures taken to help improve the drastic situation in the EU pig meat sector, which were called for by Copa-Cogeca and proved successful, and outlined new measures to improve the long-term situation.

The move came after debates in Copa-Cogeca's Pig Meat Working Party. Chairman of Copa-Cogecas' Pig Meat Working Party, Mr Tavares, said: "In view of the crisis which has been hitting the EU pig meat sector since 2007, Copa-Cogeca has been working hard to ensure measures are introduced to relieve the crisis. Feed costs in particular increased sharply recently which hit producers hard as they account for between 60 and 65 per cent of total production costs and producers have been squeezed by high input costs and low prices.

"The EU Commission's decision to temporarily open private storage aid in February for pig meat, which was called for by Copa-Cogeca, helped to relieve the difficult market situation in the short term, as excess supplies were taken off the market. Prices picked up a bit in the main pig meat producing countries. The first meat will come out of storage in May and now we need to ensure that the stored meat will be exported once its put back on the market, in order to prevent prices from dropping again.

"I am also glad that the EU recently agreed on new EU rules to allow imports into the EU of animal feed with traces of unauthorised genetically modified materials up to a limit of 0.1 per cent. We worked hard to ensure this was introduced and it is a step in the right direction. Without it, feed prices would have risen further, costing EU farmers hundreds of millions of Euros.

"We also welcome the Commission's TSE road-map and new draft report by MEP Dagmar Roth- Behrendt which includes the proposal to lift the feed ban for non-ruminants, provided conditions in the TSE road-map, such as validated tests, are respected. We have been urging for this for sometime to reduce our dependence on imported soybean," Mr Tavares stressed.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General, Pekka Pesonen, said: "To improve the situation in the longer term, current tools to manage the pig meat market must be maintain and strengthened. Pig meat also needs to be promoted better in EU and non-EU markets. In addition, farmers positioning in the food chain needs to be reinforced, in view of the huge buying power of supermarkets. The EU must enforce existing legislation to prevent and penalise abusive situations and anti-competitive practices. An unfair commercial practices directive must be developed.

"Farmers must also be rewarded for their commitment to ensuring high environmental, welfare and food safety standards and this must be reflected in the final price. Imports must also meet the EU’s high standards. After all, a new study by Copa-Cogeca on an agreement in the trade liberalising talks between the EU and the Latin American Trade Bloc Mercosur shows it would have a devastating impact on the EU agriculture sector and cause a huge rise in pork imports which do not meet the EU's standards," Mr Pesonen warned.