HAMBURG (Reuters) – The German government is considering aid to farmers after prices fell following the discovery of African swine fever (ASF) in wild animals the country, Germany’s agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner said on Friday.
State aid could come in the form of subsidized storage of unsold pork or financial support for farms, Kloeckner told an online press conference after a meeting regional agriculture ministers.
Aid for subsidized storage would need approval from the European Union, Kloeckner said.
China and a series of other pork buyers banned imports of German pork in September after the first ASF case was confirmed in Germany.
The disease is not dangerous to humans but is fatal to pigs and a massive outbreak in China has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.
A total 32 cases of ASF were confirmed in Germany since the first one on Sept. 10, all in wild animals with no farm pigs affected. All have been found in Germany’s eastern state of Brandenburg.
German pig prices slumped after the initial discovery but remained stable this week on hopes of increased exports to the EU as other European exporters raised sales to China and elsewhere in Asia to fill the sudden gap left by the German import bans.
A series of permanent fences are to be built along Germany’s border with Poland by regional state governments with the EU set to give financial aid, Kloeckner said.
But was not possible to build fences without gaps because of roads and built up areas along the border.
It is Germany’s goal to prevent ASF spreading to other areas and get the country ASF-free again, she said. Efforts are being made to contain the disease, with intensified hunting of wild boar and testing of all dead boars.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens)