EU to open private storage aid scheme for beef and lamb

Thursday, 23 April 2020

On 22 April the European Commission proposed that Private Storage Aid (PSA) could be made available some agri-food products, including beef and sheep meat. The period of storage would be between three and five months. Under the scheme, product would temporarily be withdrawn from the market place, with the aid supporting storage costs. This would be in addition to other measures previously announced. No similar scheme has been proposed for pig meat.

Under the scheme, €25 million (or 25,000 tonnes) would be available for beef and veal. Industry reports suggest most of the beef storage would be directed towards storing steak. Steak sales in Europe are struggling causing similar carcase balance issues as seen in the UK. A further €20 million, (or 36,000 tonnes) would be available as part of a similar scheme for sheep.

As the UK is still in the transition period as it leaves the EU, it could apply for some of the support available under PSA.

How much support could this actually offer?

Although it is not yet clear how much support any particular country could receive, we can compare the volume to EU production.

Typically each month during late spring/early summer the EU produces around 60,000 tonnes of sheep meat and upwards of 600,000 tonnes of beef. The volume of PSA available is relatively small in comparison. The beef PSA volume would represent just under 4% of a single month’s production in the EU, and the sheep meat PSA would represent just under 60%.

Other measures were also announced as part of this proposed package, including storage aid for other agricultural products; exceptional derogation from EU competition laws for some sectors (although not red meat); and some flexibility around the EU school milk, fruit and vegetables scheme.

The EU plans to agree the scheme by the end of April.

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