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Future Viability Questioned

by 5m Editor
30 January 2008, at 9:28am

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - Government support is vital if PEI producers are to survive the current market crisis. However, critics are asking if the industry is capable of sustaining the high feed costs that are predicted for the long-term.

In a presentation to the legislature’s standing committee on agriculture, hog board chair Anthony Nabuurs said although the industry is in “severe crisis,” it is due to extreme external influences.

“Our sector has been severely impacted by what many have sadly come to call the perfect storm — the high Canadian dollar, soaring feed costs and low hog prices,” he said

A report in PEI's Guardian says that since the Natural Organic Food Group production plant went into receivership this month, producers are exiting the industry at an alarming rate, Nabuurs said.

Fewer than 80 are left on the Island. But all is not over for the industry.

It says that a number of analysts are projecting hog prices will be high in early 2009, Nabuurs told on the committee.

However, Narbuurs said many in the industry do plan to stay and they are looking at that 2009 date because they believe there will be some money in this business, The question is how to survive until then. In truth, government support will necessary to got then through the current crisis.

Criticised

But agriculture critic Jim Bagnall questioned whether the hog industry had a future on PEI.

“We’re talking about the prices for grains still staying high in the future and for feed — is it going to be viable here on PEI to keep the hog industry going? Because that’s going to be the real question.”

Nabuurs agreed but, reiterated that government help was vital to pull hog farmers through the current crunch.

“Government support is essential for the survival and growth of the sector. Pig-producing regions that are supported by governments through the downturns are in a better position to rebound than those that did not receive government support,” he added.

To read the full story click here.

5m Editor