The European Commission announced yesterday it will propose export refunds this week for fresh pigmeat in order to help producers compete against rising feed prices and a falling US dollar.
Speaking at the council of 27 EU agriculture ministers, EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said that export refunds for pigmeat carcasses, cuts and bellies will be discussed at this week’s meeting of the EU market management committee for pigmeat and would be valid for all export destinations.
Export refunds will replace the private storage aid programme the EU brought in on October 29. Storage aid has helped to stabilise the European pigmeat market, however, it appears not to be sufficient to help producers through difficult times.
So far, aid has been requested for about 85,000 metric tonnes of pigmeat with 16,000 tonnes coming from Spain, 14,000 tonnes from Italy, 12,500 tonnes from Denmark, and 12,000 tonnes from Germany. The Commission had anticipated 100,000 tonnes of pigmeat would be stored through the programme, but the programme was “insufficient to remedy to the difficulties faced by European pig producers,” the Commission said.
According to the European Commission, margins for feed costs have dropped by approximately 65-70% in 2007 compared to the 2002 -2006 average.
Reactions are expected to the announcement. Dutch Minister for Agriculture, Gerda Verburg, commented that she had not as yet seen the exact text of the proposal, but that Dutch companies had already put aside around 6,487 tonnes for private storage, but will surely welcome the refunds.