9 May 2000
Minister launches pigmeat campaign
By Donald MacPhail
JUNIOR agriculture minister Joyce Quin has unveiled a 4.6 million campaign aimed at boosting sales of British pigmeat and easing pressure on producers.
The six-month campaign, jointly funded by the government and the British Pig Executive, aims to highlight the welfare message behind British pork.
Advertisments will contrast welfare-friendly pig production systems in the UK with the cramped sow stalls that are used to rear many pigs abroad.
Ms Quin will officially launch the campaign, to be run by the Meat and Livestock Commission, at the British Pig and Poultry Fair on Wednesday (10 May).
The two-day fair, held at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, is widely seen as a barometer of the strength of the industry.
Major changes over the past year have included the replacement of the British Pig Association and the NFU pig committee with the National Pig Association.
The merger took place against a background of continuing crisis within the industry. Prices plummeted and thousands of farmers were forced out of business.
A report commissioned by pig farmers forecast that the crisis in the sector could cost almost 50,000 jobs and cost the country 1.2 billion.
The report estimated that 25,000 jobs have been lost since 1998. It said a further 24,000 more – mainly in rural areas – were under immediate threat.
Pig prices have risen slightly in recent weeks But producers will be only too aware that an increase is unlikely to compensate for two years of losses.
Nevertheless, the fairs organisers hope to attract about 16,000 visitors and more than 300 specialist pig and poultry companies to Stoneleigh.
A new exhibition hall, offering 4500-square-metres of purpose-built undercover exhibition space, will be used for the first time at the event.