BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) on March 15 expressed its solidarity with European livestock farmers in the light of the deep and prolonged market crisis. Feed manufacturers have invested in R&D to improve the efficiency of feeding, which together with lower commodity prices has helped to reduce the cost of production over the past years. However, the significant fall in livestock production prices has put livestock farmers into a crisis situation, FEFAC said.
Livestock producers have been hit by a commodity slump and while input prices have dropped, they are not low enough to offset the larger drop in the value of farm output. At the same time, farm subsidies have been delayed, leaving farmers with significant cashflow difficulties.
With a view to strengthening the competitiveness of the European livestock sector by safeguarding unrestricted access to feed as the key input for livestock farming, FEFAC calls on E.U. policy makers to eliminate legislative threats and obstacles as well as tackle administrative burdens in the field of feed production, next to the measures announced by the European Commission on March 14. FEFAC also repeats its call to extend the mandate of the high-level DG AGRI Task Force on agricultural markets to investigate all E.U. regulatory measures contributing to higher feed costs (e.g. rising official control costs).
“The commission needs to put an end to legislative developments which undermine the competitiveness of European feed manufacturers and livestock producers,” said Ruud Tijssens, FEFAC president. “The GMO ’opt-out‘ proposal for food and feed imports is the prime example of recent legislative action that jeopardizes livestock farmers’ access to competitive feed supplies.”
FEFAC shares the concerns voiced by COPA-COGECA regarding the drastic market situation for E.U. livestock products and supports their call on the E.U. Farm Council to consider immediate and targeted action to relieve market pressure on livestock producers.
The four main U.K. farm unions met with U.K. farm ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on March 14. The meeting came before a European farm council meeting among farm ministers from all E.U. nations.