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Processors called to attend pig crisis talks

by 5m Editor
23 July 2007, at 10:08am

UK - The Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum called an urgent meeting with the province's pig processers last Friday to ascertain the degree of pressure being exerted by the supermarkets to use pork as a loss leader in a series of retail promotions planned for the coming weeks.

"It all adds up to further pressure of producer returns at a time when feed prices are going in the wrong direction, added Forum chief executive Keith Smyton.

"Farmers are already under significant economic pressure at the current average price level of 97 pence per kilo for bacon pigs. The breakeven return is around 110 pence. And if retailers now decide to use pork in some form of price war, the only prospect facing pig farmers will be further financial pain. And for some producers it could well be a case of the last straw breaking the camel's back."

Mr Smyton went on to point out that the Forum will consult with all relevant industry groups over the coming days, following which it will meet supermarket representatives in an attempt to have the planned retail price cuts across the entire range of fresh pork, ham and bacon products averted.

"It's extremely disappointing that the supermarkets are taking this approach with pork at a time when the price of milk, bread and other staple food items is rising in the shops," concluded the Forum's chief executive.

Meanwhile Ulster Farmers' Union president Kenneth Sharkey has highlighted his concerns about the impact of rising feed prices on all the livestock sectors over the coming months," he told Farming Life.

"While we are pleased to see returns improving for the arable sector, there are serious concerns emerging about the economics of producing pigs, poultry, winter finished cattle and indeed all livestock production in the year ahead. With these producers facing significant increases in costs it is absolutely critical that they receive higher farm gate prices so that cost increases can be absorbed. We will be raising this with the major retailers who must accept that as farmers costs rise, this must be accounted for in farm gate prices".

Source: Farming Life

5m Editor