05 August 1998
Falling pig prices EU-wide

CLAIMS by British pig producers that they are in dire straits appear to be undermined by the latest price and trade statistics.

The figures show that while UK farmers are suffering so, too, are pig producers throughout the rest of the European Union. In fact, the figures indicate that producers in this country are doing better than abroad.

Growth in pork imports between January and March reached 36,000 tonnes, according to official figures. This compares with the 30,000 tonnes during the first quarter last year.

But this was balanced by a strong export performance. UK processors shipped 51,000 tonnes of pork in the first quarter – 8,000 tonnes more than last year.

UK producers have claimed that the strength of sterling has given foreign suppliers an unfair advantage. They also claim supermarkets have exploited this by buying cheap imports in preference to locally-produced pork which is grown to higher-welfare standards.