Pig business extinct in a year

2 November 1999

Pig business ‘extinct in a year’

ONE-THIRD of pig producers could be out of business by Christmas, and the industry extinct within a year, warns NFU director-general Richard Macdonald.

Speaking at yesterdays CBI conference, Mr Macdonald said unless there was a turnaround soon he could foresee “the exporting of our pig industry en bloc“.

“A very significant number of pig farmers are choosing for themselves or having chosen for them that they are going to get out of pig-farming unless there is a very substantial upturn in the next couple of months

“Its highly unlikely that sort of figure to turn that around will arrive,” he told Radio 4s Farming Today.

“A very substantial number of pig farmers are going to pack up by Christmas. Its heart-bleeding to say that.”

Mr Macdonald said £5 million in marketing money and tougher labelling regulations from the government were welcome, but would not help in the short term.

“There is a very strong case for direct aid for pig farmers.”

Pig producers have been losing money for the past 18 months and each pig is sold at a £10 loss, reports the National Pig Association.

The strong Pound, extra costs from improved animal welfare, and knock-on costs from the BSE crisis are blamed.

Meanwhile the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) and Food from Britain have launched a campaign to push sales of British breakfast food.

Much of that is pork-based, as the pig industry consumes one-third of the wheat produced in the UK.

A spokeswoman said if every person in Britain ate one more breakfast each month for a year, this would be the equivalent of 350,000 tonnes of wheat.

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