The pigmeat Private Storage Aid Scheme (PSA) open since 4 January 2016 has been closed.

The decision comes following a vote by EU Member States voted this afternoon.

The private storage scheme for pigmeat, operational for 3 weeks, has already taken a substantial amount of pigmeat off the market.

The decision to suspend and then close the scheme was taken after the planned volumes of products were reached.

The most recent information shows that the total quantity of product put into storage, most of it for a period of 5 months, was 89,841t at an estimated cost of €27.6m.

According to the Commission, the more meat being stored, the more will return to the market in a few months all at once which risks bringing an imbalance.

It says the quantities put into storage are considerably higher than those included in last year’s scheme (~60,000t).

The Commission says an initial analysis of price developments since the scheme was introduced on January 4 suggests that the decline in prices seen at he end of 2015 has been halted and there are indications of a modest recovery in prices in the early weeks of 2016.

In addition to the PSA scheme, it says 15 Member States have notified the Commission of their intention to use some of the direct targeted aid from the Commission’s €420 million solidarity package for the pigmeat sector, while the sector can also benefit from other measures applied in support for the wider livestock sector.

In total, 18 Member States participated in the scheme with 4 Member States storing three-quarters of the meat: Germany 26,000 tonnes (29 %), Spain 19,000 tonnes (22 %), Denmark 12,000 tonnes (13 %), The Netherlands 11,000 tonnes (12 %).