That was the message from the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) ahead of a meeting on 7 September of EU farming ministers, where pork and milk will be top of the agenda.
The impact of the import ban imposed by Russia on EU agricultural products will be discussed, as well as plummeting prices in the pork and dairy sectors, which have led to high profile complaints by farmers and their unions.
The UECBV said it shared the concerns expressed by farmers and urged the EU farm ministers to focus on ways the EU livestock sector could boost its competitiveness and grow exports to global markets. This was particularly pertinent for the pork sector, said the UECBV, as the EU market is set to deteriorate further in the coming months.
Increasing market access
Increasing market access for EU pork will be crucial to minimise the effects on the pork industry of the Russian embargo and the Greek economic crisis. The UECVB flagged up the example of how the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some Eastern European member states led to EU pork exports to Russia being blocked. Some pork products, such as pork fat and offal do not fall under the scope of the political embargo, and the UECVB is urging the EU to intensify technical negotiations with Russia to resume exports of these products, as Canada and the US already do.
Prior to the ASF-linked embargo, the EU exported around 350,000t of pork fat and offal to Russia. Resumption of the trade for these products will have a significant positive impact on the EU pork market and on the prices paid to the farmers.
The UECVB also urged EU farm ministers to back a strong promotion and information campaign, which it said would help EU products gain market share on the international market.
“While further market support, such as aids to private storage, may be required, in the absence of some market recovery, the priority for the moment and the most sustainable long-term solution is progress in removing these technical barriers facing pork exports to Russia and other destinations,” a UECVB spokesperson said.