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Global price plea to halt the demise of worldwide pig production

by 5m Editor
28 September 2007, at 8:00am

WORLDWIDE - Producer groups from across the world have joined forces in a unilateral plea to consumers and the retail sector for an increase to farmgate prices, writes Jane Jordan, PigSite Editor.

The British Pig Executive, The Canadian Pork Council, South African Pork Producers Organisation, New Zealand Pork Industry Board, Australian Pork Ltd, Dutch Union of Pig farmers and French Porcine National Federation have issued a joint statement about the dire situation affecting global pig production and the desperate need for a 'price lift' lifeline.

Pork producers attending the 4th International Meat Secretariat (IMS) World Pork Conference in Nanjing, China, say they are deeply concerned about the state of the pork production industry worldwide - and in particular rising production costs.

Delegates from four continents said that they are currently carrying substantial losses on every pig produced. And, if this situation is not brought under control soon, then colossal numbers of producers will quit the industry within the next few months, leaving an international shortage of the world's most sought after red meat.

The national producer organisations, who represent pig farmers, are in common agreement:

'There has to be an immediate lift in wholesale and retail prices to allow sustainable returns at farm level. If not, then these industries will not survive.'

Producers are exploring every option to increase efficiency, but in the short term, those efficiency gains will fall far short of what is required to stop the significant losses occurring, say the producer groups in a joint statement.

The most significant issue is feed costs. Global grain prices have more than doubled as a result of poor harvests due to difficult climatic conditions. Also, the escalating demand for bio-fuel is placing massive pressures on grain supplies. In many countries significant biofuel subsidies are also adding to the problems and livestock farmers just cannot compete.

Producers currently predict two outcomes:
  • First - a significant drop in pig production worldwide, as producers quit the industry. A dramatic increase in wholesale and retail pigmeat prices will follow with prices far exceeding current levels.
  • Second - closer co-operation with consumers, the food service sector, and retailers to increase the prices paid to producers, now. This would allow production to be maintained, and mean that wholesale and retail pigmeat prices would not increase too much in the medium term.
Pig industries across the world are pushing for the second option as it will satisfy all sectors of the pigmeat chain. End users will still have to pay more for their pork and pork products, but supplies will remain readily available at affordable prices. More importantly, farmers will be able to continue viable pig production and earn a living.

5m Editor