Tesco has announced that it is to raise the price it pays pig and poultry farmers for their produce.

However, the supermarket retailer said it was not releasing details of the price increases its farmers could expect due to “commercial sensitivity”.

The news will be encouraging for many pig and poultry farmers who are struggling with higher feed costs.

It is expected the extra money will be passed down the food chain to farmers. But shoppers could end up paying more for pork and poultry products at the till.

A Tesco spokesman said: “British pork and poultry farmers are facing tough times, with rising commodity costs, and we have a responsibility to help them. It’s what our customers want and expect from Tesco.

“And we’ll continue to do all we can to keep the cost of other products low and keep overall basket costs down.”

In recent weeks, pig and poultry feed prices have soared due to a poor harvest in the UK and in other countries, in particular the USA.

Feed wheat, a key ingredient, has increased by more than 30% since the beginning of the year and soya has increased more than 65%.

As feed accounts for 65% of the cost of raising a bacon pig, this has plunged Britain’s pig producers into loss, and it is feared production could be down by as much as 10% by Christmas, according to the National Pig Association (NPA).

Zoe Davies, general manager of the NPA, said: “We are delighted that Tesco is increasing the prices.

“We need other retailers to do the same and, like Tesco, also come out in support of Red Tractor, which is a positive move for the farming industry in this country.”

A spokesman for the British Poultry Council said: “BPC welcomes Tesco’s move to recognise the extraordinary high feed costs hitting poultry production.”

NFU president Peter Kendall added: “I think this is part of Tesco recognising the need to be a great food retailer.

“It’s great news for pig and poultry farmers, but we will need to look at the numbers to see how good this really is.”

Philip Case on G+