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Pig Crisis Worsens in Scotland

by 5m Editor
21 March 2008, at 12:07pm

UK - The National Farmers' Union in Scotland is highlighting once again its enormous concerns for the future of the Scottish pig industry after another week with no positive news.

NFU Scotland said the pig industry was in crisis even before it suffered the effects of foot and mouth disease (FMD) at the end of last year, having seen enormous increases in feed prices.

Now, it says, the culmination of input cost increases and FMD has led to pig farmers now losing an average of £26 for every pig they sell.

Jim McLaren, NFU Scotland President, said: "The word 'crisis' has never been more apt. The Scottish pig industry is losing producers at a rate of knots and if this haemorrhaging continues we will lose our entire herd in Scotland. It’s as simple as that.

"The credit crisis has caused panic in financial markets across the world this week, and one result already has been the devaluing of Sterling against the Euro. This ought to be enormously significant for the pig industry since it increases the price of our competitors' imported products, making UK and Scottish produced goods better value. This means that retailers no longer have the excuse of telling us that our products are not competitive.

"However, it also means that producer input costs increase if we are importing feed and other supplies from elsewhere in Europe.

"Sadly, the pig industry hasn't seen the benefit of the currency devaluing since retailers have not moved to increase farmgate prices. Despite enormous input cost increases, the price per kilo for pig meat has only increased by around 2 pence over recent months.

"Add to all this a refusal from Brussels yesterday to offer any more aid to the pig sector in terms of export refunds and the industry is well and truly on its last legs.

"It doesn’t take a genius to work out how this problem can be solved. I have been speaking to retailers every day over recent weeks and they have made promises to increase the price they pay to producers. However, none of them has yet converted these warm words into action and that is what is needed now to save the pig industry in Scotland.

"We also need consumers to check all the packaging when they buy their pork in the supermarket and to choose pork and bacon from Scotland if they wish to see Scottish pork products on the shelves in future."

5m Editor