Hog farmers seek unique marketing plan for pork

CANADA - Producers grateful for province’s assistance but they say losses — $3 million in nine months — will ease with new Garden Province Meats operator finding niche market for P.E.I. products.
calendar icon 25 April 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Pig tails and red hair may work for Anne of Green Gables, but officials say a marketing scheme just as slick is needed if the P.E.I. hog industry is going to wean itself onto profits. It’s an industry that boasts the best quality product in Canada, but weaving pig tails and red soil into the heart of consumers is top priority now that government provided some breathing space with a financial plan announced Thursday.

“It’s certainly welcomed and we appreciate what the minister did for us,’’ said Willem De Boer, chairman of the P.E.I. Hog Commodity Marketing Board in response to the government program that will provide bridge financing until the end of June.

Hog producers — some losing as much as $4,000 a week — had requested the government consider shoring up finances when prices slipped below $1.35 a kilogram.

Instead, Agriculture Minister Jim Bagnall, in his first crisis situation, offered up a loan program that will cost the government $1.25 million and pay producers $15 a hog retroactive from Jan. 1 and $10 a hog through May and June.

That’s the time when the hog industry, with 50,000 animals, could either be squirming with delight or facing even greater dire consequences. The hog board is seeking operational proposals for the Garden Province Meats plant that was turned over by Maple Leaf Foods for a buck just a few weeks ago.

But now, the board and about 130 hog producers have to find a way to get out of the basement prices of the commodity markets and bolster the image of red soil and blue sea to lure a premium price from the marketplace.

Source: The Guardian
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