19 November 1999
Pig men call for levy holiday

By FWi staff

BELEAGUERED pig producers are hoping that two new initiatives will help go some way to improving their fortunes.

Industry group the British Pig Executive has called on the Meat and Livestock Commission to suspend its 65p per pig pork and bacon promotion levy for the remainder of the financial year.

On a 400-sow unit this could means savings of £1500 per year.

And in another move, the National Pig Association has launched a campaigns group to develop a nationwide campaigning strategy for the pig industry.

This aims to help the industry sell more British pork, bacon and ham, establish a price premium for British pigs over the EU average, and promote the mark of distinction.

The NPA campaigns group will be led by board member Hugh Crabtree.

He said: “We feel the time has come for producers to move from protest to promotion, without entirely losing sight of protest if the occasion demands it.”

The group has met to establish communications protocols and is setting up a national point-of-sales campaign with Ladies in Pigs. It is seeking substantial MAFF and MLC funding.

The campaigns group working party will comprise Hugh Crabtree, John Richardson, John Cusson, Richard Longthorp, Frances Slade and Nick White.

The MLC will decide on the BPEX proposal next week.

In the 12 months up to June the UK breeding herd fell by 11.5%. Despite these cuts, prices have remained depressed and producers have been losing £7 per pig, according to the NPA.

Producers blame their plight on extra welfare costs, the strong Pound, a global glut of pigmeat and knock-on effects from the BSE crisis.