07 December 1998
Gill to plead pig men’s case with MPs
By FWi staff
NFU president Ben Gill is taking the plight of pig farmers to a Commons select committee tomorrow (Tuesday) in an attempt to establish emergency measures to stabilise the sector.
He is addressing the Agricultural Select Committee in an attempt to prevent any further losses and avert a recurrence of the crisis in the future.
Mr Gill will say that a combination of crushing economic conditions at a time when UK pig producers were investing £250 million to meet higher welfare standards in legislation, unique to Britain, have brought the countrys pig producers to their knees.
“Many producers have resorted to calling in endowment policies, extending credit and re-mortgaging their farms,” said Mr Gill. “But the real impact of the crisis is expected to occur when these reserves of personal collateral have been exhausted.”
Losses in the industry currently amount to as much as £6m per week, and Mr Gill will suggest a number of measures to address this situation.
The proposals include meat promotions, efforts to reduce production costs, and improved information to enable European production levels to match demand.
Mr Gill said that “significant reductions in the breeding herd have already been recorded for the UK, with record levels of culling. As oversupply within the EU is predicted to last until summer 1999, exceptional measures are needed now to address this unprecedented crisis.”