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Maltese pig farmers facing the chop

by 5m Editor
14 January 2019, at 12:00a.m.

Cut-throat competition from imported meat may force Malta’s pork industry into collapse, farmers have warned as they also grapple with a new threat: food fraud.

Oliver Frendo, a veterinarian, has long been campaigning on behalf of Maltese pig farmers and on Saturday told The Sunday Times of Malta how the once strong industry was today on its last legs.

"Consumers might not realise it, but whereas up until a few years ago almost all the pork sold on the island was locally grown, today that share has dropped to around 30 percent. It’s getting to the point where many farmers are just giving up," he said.

The problem they face is pretty straightforward: foreign pork is far cheaper to produce than it is on Malta because farmers here have to take on significant costs to import the cereal feeds that fattens pigs before slaughter.

Maltese farm operations are also tiny compared to the mammoth factory-scale farms on the mainland, meaning the cost per pig here is much higher than it is for Dutch farmers to rear a sow.

Meanwhile, many local sellers are opting for the cheaper foreign produce as profit margins on these products are higher.

Local supermarket fridges and butcher displays are being stuffed with foreign roasts, chops and sausages, but sold to consumers at the same price as Maltese pork.

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Source: Times of Malta