Producers and processors join forces

UK - If retailers lose their nerve now and abandon British pork in favour of imported pigmeat, they will be signing the death warrant of the British pig industry says NPA.
calendar icon 2 June 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

The industry's current recovery relies on retailers continuing to support British pork even though it is in short supply.

Both NPA and leading processors are concerned that some retailers are planning to make a short-term killing by importing cheap pigmeat from the continent - much of it without gate-to-plate assurance and from low-welfare farms where sows are confined in stalls and young male pigs are castrated.

Leading processors have urged NPA to do all in its power to convince supermarket buyers that their continued support of British pork is essential if the supply chain is to avoid melt-down.

"The last thing we want now, when the British pig industry is restructuring so successfully, is a return to the bad old days of confrontation and retail distribution centre blockades," said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.

Better prices for British pork this year have been driven by the stronger euro, coupled with a shortage of supply and a desire - to date - by leading retailers to proactively support British pork.

The weekly supply of slaughter pigs is down thirty percent, causing abattoirs to cut their kill, but the national pig herd is expected to start recovering next year if retailers continue to support British pork.

"Those processors and retailers who took our advice last year and locked into longer-term contracts with pig producers are continuing to receive almost a hundred percent of their contracted tonnage," said NPA executive director Stewart Houston.

He urged those retailers without the benefit of guaranteed supplies to bid competitively for British pork. "If they undermine the British pig industry's recovery now, the national herd will revert to freefall and there will be no second chance.

Source: National Pig Association - By Digby Scott - 2nd June 2003

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