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EU Sheep Meeting Calls for More Promotion

18 November 2015

EU - Suggested measures have been put forward for maintaining the health of the EU sheep sector, at a high level meeting discussing the challenges facing the industry.

Agricultural campaigning organisation Copa and Cogeca called for promotion measures to be stepped up, better market transparency and a cut in red tape to benefit the sector.

Speaking at the high-level meeting, Chairman of the Sheep meat Working Party Charles Sercombe said: “We welcome the opportunity for industry to be involved in this taskforce set up by the EU Commission.

"It is important to ensure that we have a viable future for this sector as it plays a vital role in boosting the economies of rural areas and providing growth and jobs where often no alternative jobs exist.

"Sheep also play an important environmental role with 70 per cent of areas facing natural handicaps in the EU grazed by sheep, maintaining the EU’s grassland and pastures.

"I feel it’s essential to develop the industry and boost production and consumption. To ensure a viable sector in the future, market prices need to cover production costs and we need to address pressure from imports, with 15 per cent of lamb consumed in the EU imported.

"In the medium term, consumption is expected to rise globally and there are good opportunities for the sector.”

Some of the measures suggested to the Commission were:

  • A boost in promotion measures and creation of new tasty recipes to make lamb more appealing;
  • Increase in market transparency and price reporting through the food chain and possibility of setting up a sheep meat market observatory explored;
  • A cut in red tape and bureaucracy which stifles innovation;
  • Tolerance to prevent farmers being penalised unfairly when it comes to unintentional loss of ear tags for example in the EID system and cross compliance measures;
  • Address economic problems faced by livestock farmers hit by attacks from large carnivores like wolves.

Two more meetings are scheduled next year for the working group in order to present conclusions in May 2016 to EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to benefit the sector.

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