Aussies Likely to Feel Pork Pinch This Christmas

by 5m Editor
17 November 2008, at 5:55am

AUSTRALIA - Christmas ham may be off the menu for struggling families this year as a pork shortage sends prices surging.

The Territory is not alone as the whole country feels the pinch on pork.

Darwin's Quality Meats owner Scott Massie said pork had gone up in price every week for the past 10 weeks and the price spike would be felt at Christmas.

"Nobody is going to have cheap hams," he said.

"Pork will be available - it just depends how much people want to spend."

With the economic downturn starting to bite, families across Australia may have to go for half a ham instead of the full Christmas leg, reports Northern Territory News. Farmers are reaping the effects of high grain prices and a strong Australian dollar last year.

Meanwhile, a flood of subsidised imported pork from Europe and the US drove prices down to breaking point.

"They were just too cheap - they were destroying the industry," Mr Massie said.

Australian Pork Limited (APL) communications manager Emily Mackintosh said the national pork herd has been cut by tens of thousands as small producers get out of the industry.

The result is about 40,000 less sows nationwide - and the shortage will drive prices up.

Mr Massie said he had secured many hams at good prices but if they ran out he would have to buy more at a higher price - and late orders would pay.

"If everyone's hams are more expensive then we might run out - the wholesalers are saying hams are going to be very short," he said.

But Parap Fine Foods owner Neville Pantazis said the 250 hams he had ordered for Christmas would not be more expensive than last year as he placed his order early.

"I put my orders in eight months ago," he said.

"As soon as Christmas is over I lock myself in for the next year."