18 December 1998
No relief for world’s pig farmers

PIG farming in the USA and Europe is caught by a structural problem of falling demand and over-supply, which is unlikely to be solved for some time, reports the Financial Times.

It finds prices in Europe are 68% lower than at the same time last year, while US pig meat prices have fallen to their lowest level since 1941.

According to the National Pork Producers Council of the USA, the hog slaughter rate has topped 2 million animals a week, and this figure is set to rise even further as producers decide to liquidate stocks completely.

UK pig farmers have recently seen an upturn, but still the average price at the beginning of December was 69.63p/kg, about 27% below its level at the same time last year.

Pigmeat prices across European states have all seen falls of similar or worse percentages.

Some of Europes problems can be attributed to a fall in demand following the Russian financial crisis, but the paper says the main cause of the oversupply was European farmers “large shift” into pig meat during the past two years.

The crisis has prompted various suggestions to help ease the problems in Europe and the USA.

  • Financial Times 18/12/98 page 34