Germany’s agriculture minister urges meatpackers to work overtime to clear production backlog

Minister Julia Kloeckner has called on slaughterhouses and meatpackers to work at weekends and on public holidays to address a backlog of animals that has built up on farms during the COVID-19 crisis.
calendar icon 30 November 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

Farming associations complain this cut slaughtering capacity and that pigs especially are having to be kept longer on farms although they are ready for sale, causing price falls.

Import bans on German pork imposed by China and other countries after African swine fever was found in wild boars in Germany have also depressed prices.

"Prices are also under pressure in Germany's neighbouring countries, especially Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, because the loss of third-country exports by Germany is a burden on the entire (EU) internal market," Kloeckner said.

The government is seeking to boost slaughtering capacity. An increase in the backlog of animals has been stopped as more slaughtering capacity was put into operation.

Kloeckner said she has asked Germany's employment minister for a more flexible application of working regulations in slaughterhouses including working on Sundays and public holidays.

Farming associations want state subsidies of private warehousing to store unsold meat, she added.

Kloeckner said she has not excluded this option but the timing is important. This would not be sensible over the Christmas period when meat demand is high.

"Mid-January would be a suitable timepoint as demand in this period is from experience likely to be weak,” she said.

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