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Optimism and Belief in UK Pig, Poultry Sectors

15 May 2014

UK - This week’s British Pig & Poultry Fair reflected overriding industry optimism about the future, as a result of continued growth across the sectors.

The ‘Growing your Business’ forums were extremely well attended with 100’s of producers attending over the two days. The morning session kicked off with The Outlook for the Poultry and Egg Sectors.

Mark Williams from the British Egg Industry Council explained that there is plenty to be positive about in the egg sector. "We should be extremely proud of the fact we are 87 per cent self-sufficient in eggs, with 9.68 billion eggs being produced a year in the UK."

However, he did touch on the challenge facing producers in the form of beak trimming, "This is the most important policy issue at this time facing the UK egg industry. There is on-going work underway to educate MPs about the implications, and the need to delay any potential policy until birds can be reared without beak trimming, with no impact on welfare. This needs to be based on proven science and genetics."

Mick Sloyan, BPEX Chief Executive addressed the Pig & Poultry Fair to launch BPEX’s new strategy ‘Going for Growth’. "This is a three year proposition taking the industry into a new growth phase, through a strategy that paves the way for British producers to further strengthen their markets," he said.

"We are positive about the outlook for the pig industry. The resilience of our pig producers has resulted in both increasing breeding and finishing performance, and as a result we have seen our sixth consecutive year of growth. The strength of demand for British pork is strong and in light of horsegate we have seen commitment from a wide spectrum of retailers and increasing export demand."

Reiterating the positive industry outlook that was also expressed in the Pig Sector Outlook Forum, Mick stated that BPEX are optimistic about the landscape for pork, with a strong market platform and all indications that there is an improving future ahead.

Following the ‘Outlook’ sessions there was a forum based on how utilising the media can be advantageous to business growth, and to potentially defend the industry in the event of negative publicity. Whilst a new concept for many producers in an industry where we often shy away from publicity of any kind, Malcolm Munro, an independent media consultant, told the audience to be proud of the pig and poultry sectors and to tell the good news stories.

"Journalists want topical, relevant, and above all else authentic stories, and producers should be telling the stories of how they rear animals to extremely high standards, whilst still producing quality, affordable end products.

"The industry is full of success stories, but we need to tell them, and to tell them with passion and belief. It puts ‘good news’ into the media bank, helping to slowly overcome and win round public trust and support."

When questioned, Malcolm encouraged producers to engage with the media through industry bodies and the use of social media platforms. "Be clear about what you want to say to the media."

The responsible securing of raw materials was debated in a forum hosted by ABN, partners of the Fair. Hugh Burton explained the level to which the supply chain, including retailers, is involved in schemes to ensure responsible sourcing. He was followed by Erin Burns, ABN’s Procurement Manager, who detailed the high demands placed on protein and how the industry needs to look for alternatives. "Currently there are many options being researched including insect protein which can potentially produce 200 times the protein yield of soya beans per hectare."

The Fair was extremely well supported from producers and commercial companies alike explained organiser Alice Bell, Head of RASE Technical Events. "Stand space was sold out in advance of the Fair and visitor numbers were up on 2012 by 3 per cent, with 10,318 through the gate over the two days.

"The RASE is delighted to host the industry at this unique event, and hope the discussions started at the Fair will help producers grow their businesses."

ThePigSite News Desk

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