The price of local pork as of August will increase by €0.20 per kilo in order to keep farmers from continuing to lose money.
In a statement, the Pig Breeders’ Cooperative Society (KIM Ltd) said that increases in the cost of cereals used in pig feed have led to notably reduced profit margins for the primary producers of pork over the last year.
“This global phenomenon has particularly affected producers within the EU, where production costs are higher due to stringent quality and welfare standards. The open market and the risk of loss of market share have meant that most countries have been unable to increase the price of their pork sufficiently to maintain farmer income,” it said.
The Cooperative said that this situation has hit the Maltese farmer harder than most due to the small scale of the farms.
“Farm income fell to such an extent in 2011 that some farmers had to seek other sources of income to ensure their families’ financial wellbeing.”
No one could be prouder than the Pig Breeders’ Cooperative Society (KIM Ltd) of the fresh local pork that one finds on sale at butchers’ shops. In its statement, KIM Ltd said that “claims that fresh local pork is uncompetitive with ‘fresh’ imported pork, on a level playing field, are offensive to its farmers who work hard to produce a premium quality product and sell it at the best possible price.”
The Cooperative added that: “When it comes to fresh pork, local pork faces no real competition in terms of quality/price balance within the Maltese islands. Our only concern is when imported pork, some of which is injected with salt and other chemicals, is sold as fresh and local, or fed to the young, old and infirm in schools, old age homes and hospitals.”
KIM was reacting to recent reports regarding the state of the local pork sector. It said that contrary to reports, the national quota has not changed since the early 1980s and is still set at 2,400 heads per week, a benchmark for the quantities of pork required for local consumption.
It said that presently, average swine slaughter is around 1,300 heads per week, in contrast to the reported slaughter of 1,000 or even 900 heads weekly. It added that in contrast, the more recent reduction in slaughter numbers, seen between 2011 and 2012, was not due to a decrease in local demand but rather a decrease in local supply.