End to pig aid, Europe announces

The European Commission has suspended the emergency storage aid it has offered to pigmeat producers since late January, when prices were reeling following Germany’s dioxin contamination crisis.

Brussels says markets are now stabilising and will not accept any requests for assistance made after this Monday (21 February). A Commission spokesman said today (24 February): “Prices are on the upswing. Private storage is stabilising the market.”

He said that, until last Friday, applications for storing roughly 139,000 tonnes of pigmeat had been made. He added that requests for assistance “received on Tuesday, Wednesday today or later will be rejected”.

Looking at a breakdown of the dioxin crisis-linked storage requests made before last Thursday, the impact of the problems were concentrated in three countries: more than 60% of the requests came from Germany (28%), Spain (21%) and Denmark (13%). Also, there was a fairly even split between short and medium-term storage, with applications for 129,000 tonnes (on that day) being split between (68,000 for 90 days, 15,000 for 120 days, 45,500 for 150 days).

The move has been sparked by pigmeat prices falling 2.4% across the EU (7.2% in Germany) immediately after the dioxin crisis in Saxony, and concern about further price declines in following weeks while cereal-based feed prices have been rising.