Seeing wheat costs double has prompted many British producers to get out or at least scale down dramatically – as was shown by the cull sow figures running at some 40% above the level they were this time last year.
Speaking at this week’s British Pig and Poultry Fair, British Pig Executive (BPEX) chief executive Mick Sloyan reminded his audience that since last August the average retail price of pork and pork products has risen by almost â‚¤1 (€1.26) a kg while at the same time, the price paid to producers has gone up by just â‚¤0.10 (€0.13) a kg.
That is against a background of rocketing feed prices with the cost of wheat double what it was this time last year and soya going up dramatically.
Sloyan said that everywhere in North Western Europe, producers are facing the same problems, mainly caused by increasing demand to feed in India or China, poor harvests, drought and competition from biofuels.
Sloyan said: “All this work has helped to achieve a much-needed rise in retail prices. The basket price for pork, bacon and ham from the big four retailers (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons) which we monitor each week shows an increase of nearly â‚¤1 a kilo at a time when the price paid to producers has risen by just 10 pence. It makes you wonder where all the money has gone?”
He continued, “I believe that if retailers take a strategic view of their business and ensure sufficient money gets down the chain to pig producers to cover their costs, then everyone will benefit.”
“Consumers will not need to pay much more, retailers will continue to make a profit and most important of all, we will be able to meet continuing demand of British consumers for top quality, high welfare pork, bacon, ham, sausages and pies,” Sloyan said.
At the Pig and Poultry Fair, the BPEX even received support from His Royal Highness Prince Charles, who sent his ‘warmest good wishes’ to all exhibitors, adding that he prayed that ‘in due course the fortunes of our pig farmers will be transformed’.
BPEX has been working hard on many fronts to tackle the crisis with technical help for producers and a major publicity campaign aimed at increasing the returns to producers.
The BPEX launched a new feed price area in its website, for better help and information. In addition, there is a paper looking at alternative feeds and what effect they can have and finally practical day-to-day advice on improving efficiency.
Last year, a song was recorded by pig farmers and producers also rallied up to the Houses of Parliament in London.
â€¢ British Pig Executive (BPEX)