By Peter Crichton

UK pig producers caught in a “negative equity” trap look set to suffer for some time to come, according to the latest market figures.

Statistics published by Signet, the Meat and Livestock Commissions farm services arm, shows that weekly pig slaughterings last month was totalled 305,000 head compared with 287,600 a year earlier. And year-on-year prices have fallen by almost 15% to 95p/kg.

To pile on the agony, Signet also reports that the gap between farm-gate and retail prices has widened to 314% from 296% 12 months ago.

In response, producer groups are repeating calls that UK pork should be better promoted at point of sale. They suggest that the industry follows the example of British tomato growers who recently blitzed the media by drawing attention to the merits of home produced product.

Campaigners suggest that a “British Pork” banner should appear on all UK-produced pigmeat. They argue that this is predominantly displayed on all meat counters and heavily promoted on prime time TV slots.