28 April 2000


Winnie the pig is still in Parliament Square. She symbolises an industry driven to the brink and beyond, yet still determined to fight for its future. As pig numbers decline and prices edge up there are at last signs that there will be a future.

The pain of the last two years has focused minds and many have realised that relying solely on market forces is a recipe for disaster. Marketing, technology, co-operation and communication are needed in abundance in the harsh new world of pig production.

With this years Pig and Poultry Fair only days away, we preview the event which takes account of these requirements and promises to offer some clues on the way forward.

We also look at how BPEX is striving to open channels of communication across the industry through its new strategic plan. It believes adding value will be a key objective to protect our markets against the constant threat from imports.

Speaking about adding value is all very well but what does it actually mean in practice? One Devon producer has gone a long way towards finding out by launching a web-site to market pork from his herd. But he is sure that co-operation with other producers is necessary to maximise returns.

And not forgetting the every day reality of pig production, it is disappointing that only 30% of UK services are to AI, compared with over 80% for our major overseas competitors. Using AI can net an extra £3/pig through improved genetic efficiency, according to experts in this Update; an amount not to be sniffed at when times are so tough.

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