Confidence to invest is a key measure for any industry and the English pig industry is looking forward to a rosier future according to the latest annual survey by BPEX.
The survey covers producers, processors, vets, retailers, foodservice, civil servants and the allied industry and gives a confidence index out of 100 based on the willingness to invest.
This year, for producers, that stands at 45.8, a rise of 4.9 compared with last year. Across the industry, all sectors were more optimistic about the general financial situation, with the exception of processors who returned a negative figure.
Part of the survey looked at the services BPEX offered and the industry's view of them and this figure too showed an improvement over last year.
The main points from the survey are:
* the main driver for capital expenditure was increased efficiency
* conversely inadequate return was the main reason holding up investment
* a relatively high proportion of pig units are working at full capacity
* competitiveness is largely expected to increase or remain unchanged
BPEX Head of Supply Chain Development Andrew Knowles said: "Though producers are fairly optimistic about the future, the same cannot be said of processors. "It was also interesting to see compliance with changing environmental legislation, as well as improving efficiency, were still drivers for capital investment, facing the challenge of achieving sustainable margins.
"The second element is how our customers view the services BPEX offers and while there is always room for improvement overall the quality has improved.
This is despite BPEX going through a transition, moving to a new building while maintaining the same level of service.
"The survey also included a section for ideas on how BPEX could improve what it has to offer. There were some very interesting suggestions here and they are now being actively considered."
Andrew said he would also like to record his thanks to all those who took the time to complete the questionnaire.