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Alberta Pork presents revitalisation strategy

Pork producers in Alberta will have received several pieces of information on the Revitalization Strategy being developed for their industry.

This publication, titled The Way Forward, is part of that ongoing effort.

For some time, Alberta Pork has been working with industry stakeholders and government in Alberta and nationally on many fronts on the crisis in the pork industry. That work continues.

However, while the crisis has required immediate action, it has also been clear that the pork industry needed to consider significant longer-term changes to succeed in the future.

Competitive advantages
The province has many competitive advantages for livestock production, the report notes, such as its large land base and lower population density, favourable climate to produce both crops (including feed grains) and livestock, a base of competent and adaptable production management skills and 'relative proximity' to export to China, the largest and fastest-growing market for pork.

"Nevertheless, building a competitive pork industry will require a dramatic overhaul of the entire industry if there is to be any probability of success," the report summary continues, outlining four 'core principles' as the basis of a revitalisation strategy:

• establishing marketing capability built on product quality, supply assurance and customer-focused strategies that are 'long term and of mutual interest' rather than trying to compete on cost;

• organising and building a highly connected industry linking customers to processors and processors to producers, capturing maximum value and driving out 'unnecessary system and hidden costs'

• securing 'cost-competitive inputs', particularly feed grains and labour, and establishing a feed grain sector that can compete with US corn; and

• operating within 'a favourable business and political environment that facilitates market access, regulatory reform and long-term financing.'

The report pointed to four factors as causing the current financial crisis in Alberta's pork industry, including the rising Canadian dollar; the escalating costs of inputs, especially feed; 'intense' competition from the USA and its dominant, large-scale, pork production systems; and a lack of competitiveness in the packing sector, which in Canada remains as a cost disadvantage to US processors, estimated as high as US $12 per hog, thanks to higher costs and discounted prices.

Related websites:
• Alberta Pork 

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