Pigmeat fightback

The European Union (EU) Management Committee for Pigmeat has approved a European Commission proposal to introduce private storage aid for pigmeat to combat current low prices.

Under the programme, pigmeat producers can claim EU aid when storing meat at their own expense and risk for between three and five months from October 29. "They can then choose to release the meat back into the market at a later stage, when the market situation has improved," said a Commission statement.

If producers decide to export their pigmeat outside the EU, they can release it after just two months and still claim EU aid, and Brussels said it may extend the subsidised storage period if prices stay low.

It said pigmeat was "entering its usual seasonal drop in prices during the autumn", but that this was keenly felt this year through increasing feed costs of around 35% between September 2006 and September 2007, "which has forced down margins for producers".

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