UK, Warwickshire. NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson has called on retailers and consumers to back British pig farmers as the long-running crisis takes its toll on businesses across the country.
According to UK’S National Pig Association, producers lost, on average, an unsustainable £52/pig in the second quarter of this year, following losses of £59/pig in Q1. After seven successive quarters of negative margins, producers have collectively lost £600 million since the autumn of 2020, citing recent figures by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The massive 17% reduction in the English pig breeding herd indicates that producers are already reacting to the declining prices, as emphasised by the NPA. It can also be seen in the number of young pigs coming into the supply chain.
“As pig farmers continue to lose money following a two-year struggle, sadly increasing numbers are having to make the very difficult decision to reduce their herd or close – as reflected in the nearly 20% reduction in the national breeding herd according to Defra’s June census,” said Wilson.
Wilson warned that there could be a reduced choice of favourite British pork products over the Christmas festive period unless things change rapidly. Shortages would leave the supply chain more reliant on EU imports, which are currently increasing in price on the back of shortages across Europe, to fill the gaps.
Reports from those involved in the marketing of pigs suggest demand for British pork, against the backdrop of the consumer price squeeze, is ‘sluggish’ at the moment, with EU imports still a cheaper option, despite the rising EU prices.
To back the domestic pork industry, the NPA called on retailers and consumers to “do their bit to save the British pig sector by sourcing and buying British wherever they can.” In the end, helping producers stay in business would also benefit consumers “to have the choice of high quality, high welfare, environmentally-friendly Red Tractor-assured British pork.”
Source: National Pig Association