A united approach to the pig crisis was probably the only solution for the industry’s future, said Euro-MP and Norfolk poultry farmer Stuart Agnew.
As producers were losing an estimated £10 to £15 per pig and feed prices have soared, he said that either a major producer had to quit production or the major players must work together.
Mr Agnew, who is agricultural spokesman for UKIP, said: “It is crucial for the pig companies paying more for feed to get their retailer customers to raise the price paid for pig meat, as quickly as possible.”
The rise in prices of wheat, up to more £200 per tonne, and a surge in prices for soya sparked by drought in the United States, has put the whole livestock industry under acute pressure.
Since February the price of soya, which a keen ingredient for rations for dairy cattle, pigs and poultry, has risen from under £300 to more than £400 tonne.
“The retailers, who are in intense competition with one another, are individually reluctant to be the first to raise shelf prices and will, therefore, delay paying the producer an increase, for as long as possible.
This is forcing producers into a loss making situation,” said Mr Agnew, who was chairman of Norfolk National Farmers’ Union in 1998, and has two flocks of about 32,000 free-range laying hens.
Shoppers have been urged to support the country’s pig producers in the same remarkable way that they have supported TB over the past fortnight.
“They have the power to save British bacon for future generations if they check it is British rather than imported when they are shopping,” said Dr Zoe Davies, of the National Pig Association.
“Please make an extra special effort over the next few weeks to look for the British Red Tractor logo,” she added.
British pork and bacon has already had an important boost from the London Olympics organising committee, which insisted that all pork and bacon served at the Games is Red Tractor accredited.
And this week, three more pig farmers have announced they are selling their herds because of mounting losses.
This means a weekly loss of 63,000 rashers of British bacon, 95,000 sausages and 10,000 pork pies - just from these three farms. An East Anglian producer with 600 sows, near Bury St Edmunds, will be quitting the industry on September 1.
“If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British product, it will persuade them to pay our farmers the few extra pennies a kilo more they need to cover their soaring feed bills,” said Dr Davies, general manager of the NPA.
“Shoppers have always been incredibly loyal to British pig farmers in the past so we’re asking them to please be extra careful to look for the British Red Tractor logo on bacon, and also on sausages, and fresh pork.”
Bacon is Britain’s favourite food, according to the Top 100 Foods Index but it is under threat because farmers are losing around £10 on every pig. Unless supermarkets ensure they receive around 10p kg more, many will not be able to survive until feed costs return to more normal levels.
A recent NPA survey revealed that a tenth of the country’s pig farmers may stop producing pork in the next six months because of soaring animal feed prices.
For updates on the British pig industry’s fight to maintain production, please visit www.npa-uk.org.uk
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Pig World
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