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Australian Pig Farmers on the Brink of Ruin

by 5m Editor
12 September 2007, at 9:01am

AUSTRALIA - The prolonged impact of drought, compounded by record levels of pig meat imports into Australia and a strong AUD affecting exports have brought Australia’s pork industry to its knees.

Australian Pork Limited (APL) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Spencer said that all these factors have come together to create the worst operating environment for Australian pig farmers in living memory.

"The greatest impact has been the skyrocketing price of feed grains. Added to this have been record levels of imports displacing Australian grown pork, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

"At the same time the high dollar has been responsible for slowing pork exports to major export markets like Singapore. Pork normally destined for Singapore has been pushed back onto our already oversupplied domestic market."

Mr Spencer said, in dollar terms Australia’s pork industry is bleeding at a rate of around $3-4 million per week in losses. Producers are currently losing on average more than $30 per pig sold. No industry can continue to sustain this type of loss.

"The other side of the coin with imports is the increased risk this places on biosecurity for not just the pig industry but all Australian agriculture. We’ve seen first -hand the devastating impact the equine influenza out-break has had on our horse industry. All countries exporting pork into Australia have a range of diseases that are endemic to their regions, and not found in Australia.

"With import volumes at historical highs, having more than doubled in the last four years, the adequacy of our quarantine arrangements must be challenged. APL has in recent years strongly disputed the robustness of the import protocols and their ability to protect the industry from exotic disease through imports.

"As a result of higher imports the Australian pork industry is now facing an increased threat of introduced diseases on top of the economic pain inflicted by the drought and higher feed grain prices," Mr Spencer said.

5m Editor