More pigs, less production in EU
By Amanda Cheesley in Brussels
EUROPEAN pig numbers are set to rise in 1997 – but culling programmes introduced to wipe out swine fever in the Netherlands are expected to reduce overall production.
Latest figures from the EU statistical office, Eurostat, reveal that the EUs pig population will increase on average by 1.7% this year compared to 1996. Rising pig numbers in the UK this year are expected to outstrip other EU states with an increase of 5.4%.
Eurostat stressed that the trend does not conform to previous long-term forecasts, and that the population increase was due to the BSE crisis, which stimulated demand for pork in 1996.
But while numbers are on the increase, EU gross pig production is expected to decline by 1.7% on average throughout 1997 – mainly due to the huge 30.6% production fall in Holland because of swine fever.
In most other EU states, production will rise in 1997, with the UK up by 7.4% and Ireland 5% higher.
Eurostat also forecasts a fall in EU production of 2.1% in 1998 compared to 1997. Once again, this will be due to swine fever taking its toll, with Hollands production tipped to fall by as much as 24.6%. In the UK, production is expected to fall slightly by 1.3% in 1998, the report says.