Speaking after a meeting of senior agriculture politicians in Brussels, Copa-Cogeca’s secretary-general Pekka Pesonen welcomed the fact that EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan recognised pork was in a “critical state”.
“I am glad that Mr Hogan and all ministers agreed that the dairy and pork markets are in crisis,” said Pesonen. “The situation at farm level is worsening, with farmers facing severe cash flow problems, which are likely to continue, not only this spring but throughout the year. Without action, many producers will be forced out of business. And I hope member states will submit strong credible measures to improve the bad situation in their proposals to be made by February 25.”
Export credits needed
Copa-Cogeca used the talk to call for new export markets to be found, so pork producers can offset the loss of the once-key Russian market, after it banned food imports from Europe.
“Exports must also be stepped up and new markets found,” said Pesonen. He added: “In the pigmeat sector, prices remain very low, and we urge the EU to intensify negotiations with Russia to re-open the Russian market – our number one export market for pigmeat – as soon as possible. We also need to develop a mechanism that encourages pork exports, like export credits, and find new market outlets for our produce.”
After the EU opened emergency private storage aid in January, pork prices rallied slightly averaging €127.48 ($142.47) per 100kg for the week ending 17 January 2016, according to AHDB Pork. But just six weeks later, the EU has now said it will close the initiative, which helped producers store over 90,000 tonnes of meat. AHDB Pork analyst Stephen Howarth said it remained to be seen if this would negatively impact long-term pork prices.
The 28 member states of the European Union (EU) are expected to submit plans in fighting the critical state of the pork sector to the European Commission in Brussels on Thursday 25 February.