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Minister Smith Welcomes EU Commission Initiative To Address Problems In The Pigmeat Sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today welcomed the decision of the EU Commission to take urgent action to address the current pigmeat market situation.

The Minister said that he had raised the matter with the Commission and had asked that the Commission urgently address the issue.  Minister Smith said that he was anxious that the Commission "would use the market tools at its disposal to alleviate the pressure on pig producers at present and, in particular, to consider the introduction of an Aids to Private Storage Scheme".

At today's Agriculture Council, the Commission confirmed its intention to introduce, by the end of this week, a scheme of subsidised private storage for pigmeat as a response to the current market problems.  The Commission also undertook to establish a special group to look at longer-term issues affecting the sector.

The Minister said that there had been "a significant increase in the price of cereals since 2009 and, from June 2010, compound feed prices in Ireland are estimated to have increased by some 30 per cent.  I very much welcome the prompt manner in which the Commissioner has responded to this request from Ireland. The introduction of a scheme of subsidised private storage is an appropriate response to the current situation and one which I believe will be of benefit to the Irish pigmeat industry, which is a particularly important and valuable part of the agriculture and agri-food sector".

Date Released: 24 January 2011