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Pig Price Initiative Welcomed

by 5m Editor
23 May 2008, at 10:56am

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed a new initiative aimed at removing the differential between farm gate prices paid for pigs in Northern Ireland and pigs in the rest of the UK.

The UFU has been highlighting what it says is an un-justifiable gap between the prices paid to local pig producers and higher prices paid to farmers in GB.

Following a meeting between the Ulster Farmers’ Union and Foyle Meats this week, the UFU has welcomed a new initiative aimed at ensuring pigs slaughtered through Foyle Meats are paid a price linked to prices across the UK.

UFU Pork and Bacon Policy Chairman Norman Robson said the new initiative had the potential to bring new competition to the local market place for pigs and to remove the pig price differential problem.

Norman Robson said; "This is a positive development for the pig sector. Northern Ireland pork and bacon meets the highest standards of quality assurance and is being retailed in the same market as pig meat from GB.

"Many local producers have consistently been paid lower prices than in GB but this can not be justified by processors or retailers. Foyle Meats initiative is attempting to remove this price differential problem and local pig farmers, who are struggling to deal with soaring production costs, will hope to see improved farm gate prices as a consequence."

The UFU was critical of the lack of response in the past week from other local processors to improving market conditions.

Mr Robson said: "Supplies of pig meat have tightened and a strong market has emerged for the ‘fifth quarter’ of the pig, (the head, feet and tail), but processors seem to be resisting price rises for producers.. With these improved conditions I would urge pig farmers to market their product strongly and press for better prices going forward."

The UFU also raised the plight of the pig sector in Brussels this week. UFU President Graham Furey joined members of the Northern Ireland Assembly Agriculture Committee in a meeting with EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel.

Graham Furey said: "We urged the Commissioner to resolve problems with the EU Commissions clearance procedure for GM feeds. Europe is taking too long to allow GM feeds into our market place.

"This is driving up the cost of feed for pig producers and to compound the problem the European Union is happy to allow the importation of food products from animals which have been fed GM produce.

"This current policy is driving up our costs and placing Northern Ireland producers at a competitive disadvantage. It is something which we have urged the Commissioner to address."

5m Editor