Speaking in Brussels recently, the chairman of Copa-Cogecas’ Beefmeat Working Party, Pierre Chevalier, pointed out that beef producers were facing high production costs and low margins, with many EU slaughterhouses forced to cease production. This was having an impact on EU beef production, which is predicted to decrease by 4.8% year-on-year in 2012, he said.
Chevalier added that new estimates from the FAO-OECD suggested that meat consumption would increase considerably in emerging economies like China. He said the EU should ensure that revisions to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) included measures to boost the beef sector so that it could meet this demand.
“We need a plan to relaunch EU beef production. Support under the future CAP needs to become more targeted and production needs to be encouraged via the suckler cow premium. Measures to manage the market, such as intervention, also need to be improved,” he said. “The EU intervention price needs to be updated to take account of the higher input prices. Farmers also need the flexibility to be able to produce feed on farms to ensure feed autonome.”
Copa-Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen warned that some of the Commission’s environmental proposals for the CAP were “too restrictive” and risked “threatening competitivey and food security”.
“Green growth measures – measures which benefit the environment at the same time as maintaining production capacity, efficiency and employment - as proposed by Copa-Cogeca are vital,” he said.