Final PC Inquiry Hammers Australia's Pig Farmers

by 5m Editor
11 April 2008, at 10:28am

AUSTRALIA - Australia's pig farmers claim their hope of import Safeguards and extra support for the industry's dire situation have been ignored by the final report to the Federal Government from the Productivity Commission (PC).

"This distorted attitude of the PC on short term industry support comes at great cost to the livelihoods of farmers"
Australian Pork Limited CEO Andrew Spencer

Australian Pork Limited (APL) CEO Andrew Spencer said that the industry is imploding due to cheap imports of frozen pig meat.

Added to this situation is high grain prices that are making local production completely unviable, he said.

"This distorted attitude of the PC on short term industry support comes at great cost to the livelihoods of farmers, rural and regional communities and ultimately consumers," said Mr Spencer.

"To continue to ignore the fact that all of Australia's pork imports come from countries that actively subsidise their pig farmers and their pork industry with tax payers funds, laughs in the face of fair trading conditions and a free trade environment."

Mr Spencer said 70 per cent of the hams, bacon and smallgoods market is sourced from overseas countries.

In the current environment this percentage share is only going to climb and the result has been catastrophic for domestic farm gate pig prices, holding them down, while grain prices continue to climb, he added.

Despite the high levels of on-farm efficiencies gained by Australian pig farmers over the past five years, Mr Spencer said the industry cannot compete in "this distorted, totally unbalanced trading environment".

"The PC, by taking this stance, is in effect encouraging foreign subsidies on imports, whilst on the other hand telling Australian pork farmers they don’t deserve Government support. This is totally inconsistent and inequitable but I guess equity is not part of their criteria," he said.

"It is beyond comprehension that this situation continues to be ignored by the PC. For the PC to just blandly bundle the pig industry in with the rest of Australia's livestock industries shows how little they actually know or chose to know about the trading environment of Australia’s pork industry. Other livestock industries such as beef, sheep meat and chicken do not suffer direct competition from imports and therefore do not have their domestic trading environment left open to these pricing distortions."

Mr Spencer said the PC’s misguided, sterile ideology on free trade combined with a lack of understanding of some simple economic issues associated with the industry has turned the report into a farce.

"The one’s laughing loudest are our competitors," he said.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

5m Editor