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No Assistance for Aussie Producers

by 5m Editor
4 April 2008, at 10:42am

AUSTRALIA - Hopes that the pig industry would get extra Government support and some protection from imports have been dashed. A report to the Federal Government from the Productivity Commission says the problems are being faced aby the whole livestock sector and the pig industry should not be singled out for indiuvidual aid.


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"many agricultural industries are facing a similar cost-price squeeze and other hardships and it is not evident why pigmeat producers and processors should receive special treatment"
Australia's Productivity Commission

The industry says it's imploding due to cheap imports of frozen pigmeat and processed pork products. Add this to escalating grain prices, and local production unviable.

The commission's final report into the pigmeat industry agreed that feed prices were crippling the industry. It said that they reached record highs in 2007 and the trend is continuing into this year. The major reasons for the hikes have been drought, growing worldwide demand and government support for ethanol, and the strong economic growth in China and India. And, in view of the changing emphasis on crop production, the PC report also recommended a review of ethanol and other biofuel policies. It said that federal support for green fuels from growing crops would effect on grain users. It has the potential to increase feed grain costs further, it added.

The Productivity Commission has rejected industry's calls for protective import tariffs, because it says the cost pressures 'do not pass the test for safeguard protection against imports'. This would 'open the door to import protection being based on domestic cost disability, says reports on ABC Rural News.

The Commission has also rejected requests from Australian Pork Limited for more assistance to help producers comply with new animal welfare requirements.

It says the pigmeat industry is seeking additional financial assistance of at least AUS$80 million, equivalent to 10 per cent of its farm value. It said that many agricultural industries are facing a similar cost-price squeeze and other hardships and it is not evident why pigmeat producers and processors should receive special treatment.

The Commission says the industry already gets AUS$7 million annually from the Federal Government, AUS$3 million in drought support, as well as state government support.



View the ABC Rural News story by clicking here.

5m Editor