FABPIGS SCHEME ON A ROLL
Twelve months after its launch Farm Assured British Pigs scheme has over 2000 members and prospective members in the process of joining. Michael Gaisford reports on progress
OVER 80% of all pigs processed through British abattoirs will soon be marketed under the FABPig scheme.
"Currently the scheme accounts for 75% of the British pig kill which is a tremendous achievement in just 12 months," says scheme manager Rob Gready.
He forecasts that by the end of this year FABPigs will account for 80% of the British kill.
"Apart from members of the mutually recognised Scottish Pig Industry Initiative (SPII), all other uncommitted pig farmers should be seriously considering their position to ensure a market for their pigs in future years," warns Mr Gready.
He says that, overall, the scheme is well ahead of its target plans. This is despite staffing limitations, which mean its taking longer than anticipated for MAFFs state veterinary service to conduct final farm inspections of some 400 producers waiting to join.
"We have now achieved stage one of our plan to sign-up a big slice of the industry, and are now working on stage two, to persuade the major end users to specify product supplied through FABPigs."
This, in addition to on-farm assurance, also requires pig abattoirs and pig transport firms to be members and conform to all recommended procedures.
"Stage two is how to conduct a public awareness scheme for FABPigs. Timing, contents and direction of such a campaign are still at an early stage of discussion with the MLC, supermarkets and other interested organisations," says Mr Gready.
"Our overseas competitors are getting worried about what we are doing, and we expect the scheme will soon help us to increase our 70% self-sufficiency figure in pigmeat products," he predicts.
Any remaining outside such quality assurance schemes may soon have difficulty in finding an abattoir prepared to market their pigs.
• Launched 12 months ago.
• 2000 members and applicants.
• Covers 75% of British kill.