Copa & Cogeca welcome results from EU Sheep Reflections Forum on future of the sector

Copa & Cogeca are happy that results from the EU Sheep Reflections Forum on the future of the sector were delivered in Brussels today to help give producers a more viable future.

Copa & Cogeca believe that it is important to improve EU sheep producers incomes which are very low especially as sheep play an important environmental role with 70% of areas facing natural handicaps grazed by sheep in the EU. The sector also plays a vital role in boosting the economies of rural areas and providing growth and jobs where often no alternative jobs exist. The recommendations put forward by the Chairman of the Forum, John Bryan, are timely given the challenges that the sector is facing but also in view of the opportunities which lie ahead.

Speaking after the meeting, Copa & Cogeca Chairman of the Sheep Working Party Charles Sercombe said “Sheep producers need a sustainable income, increased market transparency and price reporting and young people need to be attracted into the sector, including through increased support via targeted measures in the EU Rural Development Programme. We are confident that many of the solutions proposed today – including promotion measures, strong EU support, market transparency, combating unfair trading practices in the food chain, etc – will help to achieve these objectives. The sheep dashboard is welcome news but it needs to be complemented by adding sheep to the Meat Market Observatory. We think that a key way to boost consumption is also to make it attractive to consumers in particular young people and to develop new innovative products and easy to cook receipes. We need measures that help to provide a quality consistent product. Lamb is a very important source of minerals and vitamins like B6 and B12 in a consumers diet and they need to be aware of this. That is why we launched our #livestockcounts campaign to underline the many benefits of livestock. Red tape and bureaucracy also needs to be cut as it stifles innovation.”.

“We trust the Commissioner will take the recommendations on board in his policy plans for the sheep sector. We would equally like to see a timeline for implementing these recommendations”, he added.

The Forum was set up on the initiative of EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan and four meetings have been held with intensive discussions between the EU Commission and key stakeholders.

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