8 June 2001

UK pig output plummets to a lower level

UK pig output in 2001 will be at its lowest level for many years, which will have serious consequences for the whole supply chain, says British Pig Executive manager Mick Sloyan.

Launching this years MLC Pig Yearbook 2001, Mr Sloyan said the abattoir sector had moved from operating at near full capacity three years ago to well below it now.

Foot-and-mouth could undermine confidence further, although there has been less effect on pig producers than on sheep and cattle producers, he said. "About 15% of pigs are in restricted areas and meat exports have stopped."

To overcome current challenges, Mr Sloyan said producers and processors would have to work together more closely.

He also hoped that the BPEX strategy – announced in last years yearbook – would help. This strategy was devised to make British pig production and marketing more competitive through research, technology transfer and by enhancing the consumers image of pigmeat.

To encourage the uptake of existing technology, a training CD-ROM package has been distributed to producers, and a follow-up is planned.

"There has also been considerable effort put into the communication of the attributes behind the Quality Standard Mark to consumers," said Mr Sloyan.

Copies of the book, which include statistical and performance data, cost £16 (01908-844396, fax 01908-609826). &#42