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Farm Prices Hit As Stores Import More Cheap Pork

by 5m Editor
18 March 2006, at 12:00am

UK - A Surge in cheap pigmeat imports by Britain's supermarkets are being blamed for a dramatic cut in UK farmgate pig prices. Grampian Pig Producers said the future of the Scottish pig sector was again under threat as Tesco and Asda had in the last month increased pork imports and cut UK purchases dramatically. The moves are already understood to have left the Grampian Country Food Group (GCFG) without a market for 17,000 of the 55,000 pigs it slaughters weekly at its UK processing plants. This, along with production problems and still considerable weekly losses thought to be around 3100,000 after a recent 320million upgrade, are understood to have combined to put GCFG's Broxburn plant on to a four-day slaughter week. The firm earlier this week announced the closure of its Elmswell pigmeat processing plant in Suffolk with 380 job losses on top of the 330 it cut at Buckie when it shut its plant there in the autumn. GPP chairman Sandy Howie, of Mintlaw, said Scottish farm-gate pig prices had collapsed 8p to 97p per kg. GCFG had, however, warned a further 7p cut may needed. Mr Howie said: "We believe this is a cynical move, triggered by the supermarket price war to flood the market with surplus pigs and reduce the UK national average price on which contract prices are based. "Processors are being told to find 20% of their supplies from abroad - places like Patagonia and Bulgaria are being mentioned - as Tesco and Asda battle it out for market share." Mr Howie accused supermarkets of turning a blind eye to the high-cost welfare and production standards allegedly demanded by British consumers. The Press and Journal

5m Editor