ANALYSIS – A few heavy rain showers on the first day of the British Pig & Poultry Fair last week were the only things to dampen seriously the mood at the event, held last week at the National Agricultural Centre, reports senior editor, Jackie Linden.While feed ingredient prices remain high and the state of the wider economy is making business difficult for the sector, there was some good news over an upturn in pig prices and there is uptapped potential for the industry in food service.Furthermore, the UK agriculture minister has reached agreement with the Chinese government for China to resume imports of pig meat and breeding pigs from the UK.
In a now-traditional press conference at the start of the Fair, British Pig Executive (BPEX) Director, Mick Sloyan, opened his presentation saying that the DAPP had been on the rise over the last few months – at last – and now stands at a little over 148p per kilo.
The EU pig welfare directive, due to come into force on 1 January 2013, will have less impact of the UK pig industry than most other member states as stalls and tethers were outlawed here in 1999, and Mr Sloyan highlighted recent clarification of the coming rules over slot width and space allowances – also included in the new Directive – as the result of lobbying by BPEX and other industry organisations.
British pig meat, chicken and eggs are enjoying growing demand from food service, and exploring the potential of this sector was the subject of the headline debate at the Fair.
While the British Pig & Poultry Fair was on came the news that British pork will soon be on menus in China, following a £50–million deal reached by Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice. He announced the landmark agreement with the Chinese Government while on a mission to China to boost trade for British food and farming businesses.
Turning to news from other countries, Chinese egg producer, Beijing DQY Agriculture Technology Co. Ltd, has teamed up with American meat supplier, Smithfield Foods Inc, to set up a $1.8– billion biofuel plant in the USA. The venture is expected to be operational by the end of 2012 and will use waste from a Smithfield pig farm, producing a power generation capacity of one megawatt.
China’ pork prices have continued to decrease, leading to widespread losses for the industry and prompting the government to take measures to prevent the prices from fluctuating greatly during the next few months.
Agricultural analysts said the low prices might prompt a reduction in the country’s pork imports from the US and put downward pressure on US hog futures, which hit their lowest price last week since September.
Finally, Australian pig meat production is on the rise, driven by strong local and international demand.