ROMANIA - Following the recent decision of the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products to lift the ban on Romania’s live pig exports to other European Union member states, the Romanian Pork Meat Producers’ Association (APCPR) says this could increase the country’s annual exports by as much as 1.6 million head.
The decision was announced by Romania's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Achim Irimescu.
“This is a remarkable event for Romania which obtained this decision after it began to work on this project in 2007,” said Radu Roatis, the president of the country’s National Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA), as quoted by local news agency Agerpres.
The measure is effective as of this month, allowing the country’s pig breeders to relaunch export sales to the EU. The ban was placed in 2003 due to a series of outbreaks of bluetongue disease. Romania and neighbouring Bulgaria were banned from exporting live pigs, but they were allowed to export processed pork products.
Romania claims it has been free of swine fever since at least 2008, and the latest outbreak was reported in the country a year earlier, resulting in the killing of 47,580 animals in two counties. A study by V. Herman, C. Pascu, N. Catana, B. Faur and I. Vaduva from Banat University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Timisoara points that vaccination against classical swine fever was compulsory in Romania which made it “free of this disease between 1974 and 2001.
The only outbreak in the 2001 was declared in Harghita county.” The first major outbreak took place in March 2002 after the Agriculture Ministry decided to halt the vaccination program.
Romania’s pig livestock totals 4 million head, and, as a result of the lifting of the ban, the country’s live pig exports to other EU member states could increase by some 40 per cent, or 1.6 million head, according to data from the ACPCR.
Meanwhile, the Romanian authorities are also eyeing to re-establish live pig and pork meat exports to numerous non-EU markets.
“Currently, we export live pigs to countries such as Georgia and Albania, [and] we have advanced talks on exporting pork meat to Japan and South Korea,” said Rares Habeanu, a spokesperson for the ANSVSA.