Russian and Ukraine Grain Concerns for Eu Livestock Industry

Article excerpt

Animal feed manufacturers have slated the European Commission's bid to limit cereal imports from Ukraine and Russia, saying it will destroy European livestock farmers. The European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC) has sent an open letter to Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler and Danish President-in-Office Mariann Fischer Boel highlighting its concerns over the current negotiations on changing the import regime. The organisation fears livestock farmers suffer a double blow due to the strategy - higher grain prices and restricted export markets. FEFAC says a cereal monopoly will be created in Europe with an absence of competition resulting in European cereal growers being able to demand whatever price they want. In addition, third countries excluded from the EU market could slap sanctions on European meat exports.

The compound feed makers also argue that Russian and Ukrainian cereal imports saved the livestock industry from outrageous costs in 2001-2002 because EU producers normally stockpile grain in a bid to push up prices. Livestock farmers are effectively held to ransom by wheat and maize speculators who know the grain can be sold into intervention anyway and hold out for the highest price. This situation will be reversed should the proposed changes go through.

And the potential side effects do not end there, not only will livestock farmers have raised costs, they will also see the Russian and Ukrainian meat export market closed off. "We're afraid they will slap sanctions on EU meat products and favour produce coming from Brazil, Thailand or the US", argues FEFAC. This situation could be further worsened by Russia and Ukraine using excess cereal production to supply their own livestock markets. …