By Peter Crichton

THE recent rise in interest rates has unfortunately helped to keep the Euro pegged at low levels on the currency markets, and continues to give imports the edge.

Dutch and Danish imports are running at high levels, with over 20% of all Dutch pigmeat now targeted at the UK. These imports totalled a record 120,000 tonnes for 1999.

Worse than this, last weeks Dutch imports alone were 2915 tonnes, which translates to a per annum figure of 152,000 tonnes or the equivalent of almost 2 million pigs.

Almost all of the growth in Dutch imports is due to the strength of the Pound.

If UK pig numbers continue to decline, imported pigmeat, much of which does not comply with UK welfare and feed safety standards, will continue to penetrate the domestic market at rising levels and peg back UK producer prices.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry