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NFUS Proposes Measures to Support Pigs Sector

by 5m Editor
18 March 2011, at 9:40am

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland has proposed a package of measures to ease the severe pressure on the nation’s pig sector caused by imports of cheaper, lower welfare pigmeat from continental Europe and the persistent high cost of grain.

While the cost of cereals has eased in the last few days, prices are still at a level that is challenging for the pig sector.

The following measures are being discussed with Scottish Government and other industry organisations:

  • Writing formally to the UK Government asking them to set out a timetable for a supermarket adjudicator
  • Working together to ensure those at the top of the supply chain recognise the enormous pressure at farm level in the pigs sector
  • Prioritisation of the pigs sector for a future round of Rural development funding
  • Development of an independent cost tracker to understand the volatility of input costs to farmers
  • Examining mechanisms to help manage risk and volatility, including potential use of future markets and hedging
  • Pushing for a move to less frequent risk-based Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) scheme inspections, in line with new European legislation
  • NFUS continuing to monitor the retailers commitment to pork on their shelves

NFU Scotland Vice-President, John Picken, said: "Since the dioxin feed scare in Germany at the end of 2010 the EU pigmeat market has collapsed and some UK retailers appear to have taken advantage of falling continental prices to stock their shelves with imported pork.

“Following the UK Government decision to ban stalls and tethers in 1999, Scottish pig producers have been producing pigmeat products to higher welfare standards than most other EU member states, but the extra cost of this is not being recognised in the price being paid at farmgate level. Despite ongoing promises, the proportion of Scottish pork, ham and bacon on the shelves of some supermarket chains has remained stagnant at best, and this needs to be improved dramatically if pig producers in Scotland are to have any chance of survival.

“The pig sector requires industry, government and levy boards to work collectively. This is not a call for an aid package but is about developing measures to ensure the markets work fairly and in a way that ensures business can move forward.

“We believe this package provides a balance - it recognises that everyone has a responsibility to ensure the market works well, ensures producers have the best information possible and offers suitable risk management options to have to hand.“