Ukraine conflict prompts feed shortage

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ROME, March 18 (Reuters) – Carlo Vittorio Ferrari, who runs a farm holding 2,000 pigs with his brother near the town of Cremona in northern Italy, fears his fourth generation family business could be lost due to conflict in Ukraine.

The country is a major global supplier of animal feed, stocks of which are falling fast across import-reliant southern Europe.

With Hungary, Serbia and Moldova also banning exports as they safeguard their own supplies, costs for farms like Ferrari’s have spiked, threatening their future. Many face culling animals if the situation doesn’t improve quickly.

“This is a family business. My grandfather kept it going during two wars, my dad saw one, but I don’t know if we’ll get through this one,” Ferrari said.

Italy has called for EU rules limiting state aid to the sector to be waived, while Spain has taken steps to allow emergency purchases of corn from Argentina and Brazil.

“I hear growing reports of farmers slaughtering their animals, but I want to avoid that,” said Elisabetta Quaini, who keeps 1,300 cows for beef and milk production on her farm in Lombardy, northern Italy. “I’m determined to keep going, but I am very worried.”

Gavin Jones, Cristiano Corvino /  Reuters

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