Italian Gov. pledges pig industry support
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 Italian Ministry of Agriculture is hoping to launch the plan by July 2009, with Brussels already reviewing the proposals which includes 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% to 12,882,000 head, according to the Italian Pig Breeders Association (ANAS). Imports of live swine in 2009 decreased by 40% (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. Consumption of pigmeat has however declined by an estimated 8-10% and prices have fallen 5% to less than €1/kg.
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