APL Continues to Back Pork Producers in Face of Industry Price Shock

AUSTRALIA - "The fundamentals of the Australian pork industry remain sound, despite the significant challenges facing the sector" is the message Australian Pork Limited (APL) CEO Andrew Spencer delivered at an Agribusiness Australia breakfast in Perth.
calendar icon 20 July 2017
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The presentation was delivered in the midst of an unprecedented price shock for the pork sector, with prices declining to levels that for some producers, are below the cost of production.

The rapid and unexpected downturn is influenced by a range of factors. These include increasing pork volumes and a glut of imported processed ribs, bellies and other pre-cooked pork directly competing with Australia’s higher quality, locally produced pork in restaurants, takeaway outlets and hotels.

Mr Spencer outlined how APL as a producer-owned Rural Research and Development Corporation (RDC) is urgently working with its producers, retailers, processors and wholesalers to ensure the market can better accommodate domestic pork.

"APL’s purpose is to enhance the viability of pig producers. In times like this our producers look to us to take the lead in getting the industry back on track," he said.

"It starts with helping producers make business decisions based on accurate information, taking stock of their situation and implementing strategies that allow them to navigate this difficult period.

"We have started weekly processed pig number updates to provide producers with a timely view of national pork volumes and we are working with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to improve import statistics so we can better understand newer pork import volumes.

"We have invested an extra $1 million in advertising to drive Australian fresh pork sales and launched advertisements promoting Australian ribs. We are also collaborating with restaurant chains to negotiate supply arrangements that benefit the sector such as the agreement with Hog’s Breath Café, who exclusively offer Australian pork on their menu," he said.

Imported ribs which are used predominately in the hospitality industry in pubs, restaurants and casual dining establishments have been cooked in packaging can sit on a shelf, unrefrigerated, for up to 24 months.

"These ribs have basically been sterilised in the pack," Mr Spencer said.

"It’s clear that if you want the freshest pork of the highest quality, consumers need Australian pork. We’re going to ensure they get more Australian pork on their forks and ask if ribs and bellies in their restaurant or pub menu are fresh, quality Australian pork."

Mr Spencer said despite the challenges facing the Australian pork industry, pork remains the second most consumed meat in Australia and its future is bright.

"The path to growth is rarely smooth and APL will work to cultivate global export markets and support continued cost reduction and productivity through effective RD&E so the industry can prosper into the future."

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