Nutrition

News 331 views last update:6 Aug 2012

GM Policy strangles EU livestock industry

Fefac President Pedro Corrêa de Barros called on the EU Farm Council to take urgent measures ensuring adequate access of livestock farmers to feed materials.

He welcomed the proposed decision to eliminate set-aside for the new crop season but stressed that this measure is not effective to address the present acute shortage of feed materials for the EU livestock population.

He noted that the only way out to cover current market needs are additional imports of energy-rich feed materials of which the EU needs to import 15-25 million tonnes according to trade and industry experts.

However, access to imports is severely restricted due to the present EU GM policy.

Crippled industry
Corrêa de Barros warned the EU Farm Council that "The current EU GM policy will cripple the EU livestock industry.

"Livestock producers in third countries will be able to use the GMO crops not yet approved in the EU to feed their animals and will increasingly sell their products of animal origin to EU consumers at a lower price compared with EU operators".

He stressed that the systematic slowdown of GM approvals in the EU combined with a strict 0-tolerance policy for the presence of non EU-approved materials already resulted in the loss of 4 million tonnes of CGF (Corn Gluten Feed) and DDGS (Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles) that the EU used to import for years from the US.

Feed price inflation
CGF and DDGS are staple feeds mainly for cattle in the "Atlantic" EU countries (Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK). Their substitution has artificially inflated feed prices in the EU by 2-3 billion euros, out of a total cost increase for compound feed of 10 billion euros since last year due to higher world prices for cereals.

Further massive feed price increases in the EU, which livestock farmers may not be able to recover from consumers, must be expected in the new marketing year.

This can happen if traces of newly authorised GM grains in export countries appear in the supply of soybean meal to the EU, before they obtain full EU approval.

Political responsibility
Corrêa de Barros asked Farm Ministers to take their political responsibility to avoid strangling the EU livestock industry.

"It is the EU Farm Ministers' duty to maintain EU's feed and food security by accelerating the EU GM approval process.

"They should set a workable threshold for technically unavoidable presence of GM crops which have been approved in exporting countries but are pending approval in the EU at the time of import of feed grains.

The planned EU CAP health check can meet its objective of market-orientation and competitiveness only if the EU livestock sector is on a level playing field with third countries operators, which is also in the interest of their main suppliers, the EU grain producers.

Editor AllAboutFeed

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