Plummeting prices for pigs – again

1 February 2002

Plummeting prices for pigs – again

A SHARP drop in pig price since Christmas has brought the pig industry to the brink of collapse again.

Mick Sloyan, the head of BPEX, said the industry, which is worth £5bn to the UK economy in food service and retail markets, is badly short of confidence.

Over the past couple of weeks prices have fallen to 94p/kg and he expected this weeks all average pig price to be down to about 86p-87p/kg.

"Pig farmers are losing money again. And this comes at the end of three years of doing so. They are under severe pressure and many more will go out of business."

Those that stay in the industry, badly needed a boost of confidence, otherwise they wouldnt invest and wouldnt remain competitive.

He added that farmers need greater commitment from abattoirs, with banded contracts to restore confidence and improve security. Retailers, too, had to share in this and couldnt leave all the risk to abattoirs.

There also had to be better and more effective communication throughout the supply chain so farmers could supply individual profitable markets with the type of product they require.

"There is a margin selling British produce and we need to focus on that area of product that produces good returns."

Mr Sloyan said the UK must also develop its market for pork outside the UK. "I cant understand, why we get so hung up about our market when there are only 60m people in the UK, which on average consume 22kg of pork each annually.

"Across the Channel in Europe there is a far bigger market with 320m people, who on average consume twice as much pork as we do." &#42

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