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327 Million Christmas Loss for English Producers

by 5m Editor
1 February 2011, at 12:44am

UK - In the week after major retailers announced increased sales over the Christmas trading period, England's pig farmers have revealed industry losses of 327 million.

That comprises the combined loss recorded by pig producers in the last quarter of 2010. Soaring feed costs, combined with a drop in the DAPP, mean producers are now (January) losing on average £21.30 on every pig they produce – with little sign of improvement.

The further irony for pig producers is that not only are sales of pork and pork products up, the retail prices of the average pork price basket rose consistently from September to Christmas.

Producers are becoming increasingly agitated at what they see as retailers and processors making profits while they suffer mounting losses and are now planning to intensify their campaign for a better deal under the banner of 'Pigs Are Still Worth It'.

Farmers are planning a nationwide campaign to bring the matter to the attention of consumers.

The campaign will kick off next month with banners being erected in farmers' fields adjacent to major transport routes to provide high visibility for the action. Farmers are also thought to be organising support activity in central London as well as at key regional locations throughout England.

BPEX, which represents pig producers in England, has proposed a three-point action plan to resolve the current crisis and called on retailers to:

  • increase the amount paid per pig to producers
  • support English high-welfare pig meat production, and
  • adopt total supply chain co-operation.

BPEX has stressed both the short-term imperative of getting producers back in profit and the longer-term case for improved supply chain solutions in its discussions with retailers.

The feed cost problem is common across Europe and producers there will be faced with similar challenges to English producers. Importantly, though, the rest of Europe is due to fall into line with welfare legislation that more closely matches that of the UK by the end of next year.

This is likely to add cost to production in those countries, restrict the supply of cheap imports to the UK and place greater importance on supply chain co-operation if retailers are to ensure the supply of quality, farm-assured product.