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Weekly Overview: Is There a Future for the European Pig Sector?

08 September 2014

GLOBAL - The repercussions of Russia's ban on the import of European pig meat continue to cause dismay and more in the sector.

The French meat processing sector launched a fierce attack against the European Commission for doing nothing to support the pig sector during the present ban on exports to Russia.

France's meat industry organisation, SNIV SNCP, said the European Commissioner had announced support for the fruit and vegetable sectors and the dairy products sector last week but had ignored the meat sector.

In an angry statement, the union of French meat companies said the Commissioner had said the pig and meat sectors “are not affected by the crisis with Russia”.

But the union said that the Commissioner had ignored the fact that exports of pig meat to Russia reach 750,000 tonnes a year or 20 per cent of the total European pig meat exports. France’s share of these exports is 75,000 tonnes worth €150 million.

The impact of the Russian ban is being felt across the European Union, with Polish and Spanish farmers taking to the streets in protest.

The secretary-general of the European agricultural union, Copa Cogeca warned: “Additional aid is needed to prevent the market spiralling out of control, causing further damage to the economy.”

To support businesses affected by Russia's food import ban, the European Commission says it is monitoring market prices for affected products in each member state each week.

Overall, the Russian ban affects €5.1 billion worth of EU exports. The most affected areas of which are €1,233 million worth of meat exports (pork and beef) from Denmark, Poland, Lithuania and Germany, and €1,349 worth of dairy products from Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany and Lithuania.

Although it is too early to assess the full economic affects of the ban on the EU, the European Commission is remaining positive that the EU can bounce back and find new markets to sell to in the medium term.

In Ireland, for example, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has welcomed a new agreement with Viet Nam to allow for the import of fresh and frozen pork from Ireland.

Turning to news of pig diseases, porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) has been reported in the state of Utah although the official count of affected US states remains at 30. Zoetis reports that the USDA has granted a conditional licence for its vaccine to help fight PED in pigs.

No new positive results for Porcine Delta Corona virus (PDCoV) were detected in the US in the last week, so the total number of positive samples so far remains at 381 from pig farms in 17 states.

Ukraine has reported further cases of African swine fever, as have Lithuania and Russia in the last week.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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