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Phil Hogan: Romania accounts for 75 percent of EU household pig production

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European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said on Thursday that he is working closely with Romanian authorities to help them deal with the difficult situation Romania is facing because of the African swine fever epidemic, as 75 percent of the pigs raised in backyards in the European Union are in Romania.

The African swine fever, the CAP reform and the budgetary situation are subjects that I have already discussed with Mr. Minister and the Prime Minister of Romania. As regards the African swine fever, we are working closely together because 75 percent of the backyard pig production in the European Union is in Romania, so we are intensifying our efforts to see what we can do more about surveillance and control. Mr. [Agriculture] Minister Petre Daea recently notified me of the intention to seek the European Commission's assistance to financially help farmers cope with this very difficult situation, if they have to cease production because of the implementation of the program. There are solutions also under the rural development program and some support for farmers, but most important is to stop the disease from spreading, Commissioner Hogan told a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture. 

He added that the 800 ASF outbreaks detected in Romania are an indicator of that controls are in place and yield results.

Surely this is a large number of disease outbreaks in a short period of time, but we will continue to support the minister and farmers in terms of surveillance measures, veterinary services, research and we will also try to offer a vaccine that should work in the future. We have 10 million euro allocated in 2019 for research at EU level. But in the short term we need to help stop the spread of the disease in Romania because it also has an impact on neighboring countries, on the EU trade in pork, and to support farmers to cope with the additional bio-security measures that have been introduced with the help of the EC and of the Romanian government, Hogan added.

The European official said that the 2-million euro amount has already been allocated from the Commission for the "sanitary veterinary aid part."

We are now looking at the rural development program to see how we can help farmers (...) in this case, said Hogan.

He added that he also discussed with the Romanian prime minister about the cap for the direct redistribution payments and direct payments for small and medium-sized farms.

We welcome any positive idea that can come to help us keep small and medium-sized farmers in business. Through the EIB and other European investment funds, we will try to help in this regard. Later we will give you some details about this financial aid scheme, Hogan said.

Asked how he considers the spread of the African swine fever can be stopped, given that many clandestine pig breeding farms have been tracked, AgriMin Petre Daea made it clear that rules are for everyone to observe and where this doesn't happen, "law must step in".

Asked whether the government will ban backyard pig breeding in order to prevent the spreading of African swine fever, the Minister of Agriculture replied: "Of course we don't ban pig breeding, but this will be made in sanitary conditions we all must observe, under high bio-security conditions to protect ourselves from this epidemic disease and others."



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