The EU’s move to open a Private Storage Aid (PSA) system for pork producers reflects the bad year Europe’s pig industry has had.
Average pork prices tend to fall in October and November and this has been a three-year pattern for European pig meat, but in 2015, prices have been particularly harsh. And the average price of pork in the EU is now at its lowest level in over a decade, according to the UK’s Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
“The value of pork products has been particularly affected by the Russian ban, with a knock-on effect on overall carcase prices,” said AHDB Pork analyst Stephen Howarth.
Industry bodies that represent pig farmers are hopeful the PSA scheme will go a long way to help stabilise the market at the very least. At best, the PSA initiative may help bolster demand for pork, which always tends to record an upswing in spring.
Despite the optimism surrounding PSA, its success will be based on the detail, as the particulars of PSA are yet to be published by the EU. It is believed, though, that the scheme will cover a range of pork cuts like chops, as well as unprocessed fats and offal. Piglets up to 20kg are also understood to be included in the scheme.
After being hit hard by Russia’s trade embargo, Europe’s pigmeat market is precariously unstable with a growing livestock surplus that has not been helped by the decade-low average pork price.
The rate of aid set to be received is likely to be more than it was under previous PSA schemes, although nothing has been confirmed by the EU yet.
In other good news for pork, there are signs that, in the economic powerhouse of Germany, the pork market has started to stabilise, helped by festive demand.