NFU Scotland Questions Tesco on Pigs at AGM

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland attended the Tesco AGM on Friday, 1 July, to urge the retailer to recognise the true cost of the high health, quality and welfare standards demanded of British pig farmers.
calendar icon 4 July 2011
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John Picken, NFU Scotland Vice-President, attended the AGM on behalf of the Union who are at pains to stress to Tesco the importance of passing on any price increase to the farmers at the bottom of the supply chain.

The British Pig Industry Support Group gathered in demonstration outside the venue to highlight to Tesco that, despite assertions of a commitment to British product and British producers, the price paid to farmers’ means that the majority continue to lose money.

Speaking from the Tesco AGM, John Picken said: "Today was another opportunity for NFU Scotland to urge Tesco to shift the price paid to British farmers to help safeguard the future of the British pig industry.

"While Tesco did raise the price of their fresh pork in stores a couple of weeks ago, that increase has been slow to pass back to suppliers. And as the largest UK retailer, if Tesco don’t raise the price to suppliers, other retailers are unlikely to raise theirs. Tesco need to accept that if they want to have a sustainable British supply chain to work within in future, they need to ensure that when prices are raised in store, that quickly filters back to the farm gate.

"UK pig farmers meet the highest health and welfare standards in the world – standards that far exceed the requirements placed on other foreign pigmeat products imported by Tesco, and several other retailers. The high-cost production standards that are demanded have not been matched by a commitment to buy UK product, which leaves British pig prices well below where they need to be. It was particularly disappointing to see pig farmers being forced to demonstrate outside the Tesco AGM, when several months ago we were also outside Westminster.

"The bottom line is that we believe Tesco have a corporate and social responsibility to pay their suppliers a price that is representative both of the costs of production and the market. And at the moment there’s much more they could be doing, both to support British pig farmers and to give their UK consumers the high welfare and high quality assurances we believe they expect.

"We met with Tesco on the issue of price at the Royal Highland Show, and have taken this opportunity to question the AGM. We are keen to meet with Tesco again as soon as possible to discuss these issues in more detail."

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