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Don’t pull the rug from under Danish pig production

by 5m Editor
9 December 2003, at 12:00am

DENMARK - “In general Denmark’s pig producers are skilled at adjusting their costs to developments in international markets. However, politicians should be careful that they don’t tighten production conditions to such an extent that they pull the rug from under the producers.“

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With these words Danish Crown’s Chairman, Niels Mikkelsen, warned against political interference in Denmark’s agricultural industry at the annual meeting of the company’s Board of Representatives this week.

“Once again we’re faced with a budget that seems designed to lower the working conditions of Danish agriculture,“ Niels Mikkelsen said. “In view of the tight conditions under which we’re operating there are grounds for concern for our competitiveness. We’re in direct competition with pig producers from the rest of the world and there is no room for imposing further restrictions on us.“

Niels Mikkelsen also warned against ill-considered political moves against Denmark’s large companies in the wake of the current debate surrounding the Arla Foods Dairy Group.

“Some politicians seem to ignore the fact that our participation in the inner market has left the door wide open to foreign competitors.“

“Competition for consumers’ attention is considerable,“ added Niels Mikkelsen. “Just take a look at the diversity in supermarket chilled counters with their range of foreign meat products from countries like Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Italy, not to mention beef from Australia and Brazil. I’m even inclined to believe that the mergers in Denmark have been a contributing factor behind this development because consolidation within the food industry has not led to fewer supplies, rather the opposite, i.e. an increase in international supplies – all of which, of course, is in keeping with the objectives of the inner market.“

Directly addressing Danish politicians Niels Mikkelsen added: “I sincerely hope that our parliamentarians will be able to adopt a general view and realise the principles upon which the Danish farming community has built one of Denmark’s few international business success stories. I must warn them against tampering with the agricultural sector’s co-operative foundation on the basis of topical sentiments. This would have consequences - also for Danish society in general.“

Last year Danish Crown exported products to the value of nearly DKK 30 billion. This equates to approx. 55% of total Danish agricultural exports and close to 7% of the total Danish exports of goods.

Source: Danish Crown - 9th December 2003

5m Editor