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UFU calls for crisis meeting over pigs

by 5m Editor
31 October 2007, at 11:15am

NORTHERN IRELAND - Ulster Farmers Union president Kenneth Sharkey has called for an emergency meeting with farm minister Michelle Gildernew in order to push for the implementation of a five point action plan, designed to support pig producer returns.

Kenneth Sharkey

The initiative centres on the need for the European Commission to increase exports refunds on pork and bacon in order to stimulate EU markets for pigmeat.

Local pig prices fell by four pence per kilo at the beginning of this week in what seems to be a response to an over supplied European market. Mr Sharkey said: "We will be asking the minister to ensure that all possible political pressure is brought to bear in Brussels to ensure these steps are taken."

He told Farming Life: "We are also calling on DARD to accelerate its review of public procurement policies with the aim of giving greater opportunities to suppliers of home produced pork and bacon."

In addition, the Union wants Michelle Gildernew to explore the possibility of relaying more funds to promote the consumption of locally produced pigmeat here in Northern Ireland. "We are also asking DARD to reduce the cost of meat hygiene inspections," added Kenneth Sharkey. "Country of Origin Labelling is another issue which DARD must address as a matter of priority. The market for pork and bacon in Northern Ireland must be made more transparent. Consumers want to know the origin of the meat they are buying. And this is just not possible in many cases at the present time."

Significantly, this latest fall in pig prices comes at a time when many of the local supermarkets have increased the prices of pork and bacon in their shops.

"The processers must explain why these developments have not been translated into better prices for producers," concluded Kenneth Sharkey.

Source: FarmingLife

5m Editor