Poor prices threaten EU pig supplies

Supplies of pigmeat across Europe could be under threat unless steps are taken to ensure producers are paid fairer prices, the EU has been warned.

In a report due to be presented to the European Farm Council on Tuesday (17 May), the Enlarged Advisory Group on Pigmeat said producers needed to be paid more if supplies of pigmeat were to be guaranteed.

The 16-page report says rising costs of production – particularly for feed – means many producers are struggling to make a return on their animals. With cereal costs accounting for about 65% of pig production, the report says there needs to be a higher level of self-sufficiency in protein crops in a bid to cut costs. But it says an increase demand for pork products in emerging economies in Asia and South America offers some solace for pig producers for the future.

In order to tap into these export markets, the European pig industry needs to restructure itself to be more competitive and integrated, the report adds.

EU farm lobby group COPA said an European protein plan would help address some of the problems in the pig supply chain. It also called for the creation of a stabilisation mechanism to address extreme price volatility.

The latest figures from EU farm experts DG AGRI said average prices for slaughter pigs across Europe have increased to €159.30/100kg.

But while margins had recovered slightly, it said the rise was unlikely to last.