UK: Pig farmers demonstrate over prices

08-03-2011 | |

Hundreds of pig farmers descended on Downing Street to campaign for a fair deal from supermarkets and processors.

This occurred late last week on 03 March.
UK farmers are calling for a higher price for their livestock to help them cope with soaring feed costs, following a similar campaign in 2008 and 2009.
The industry says it is facing huge losses following a dramatic rise in the price of wheat and subsequently animal feed costs over the past six months.
The British Pig Executive (BPEX) says many farmers will go out of business or be forced to cut production if they do not get a higher price soon.
It claims supermarkets and processors are continuing to make “huge profits” by importing increasing amounts of lower welfare pork.
A report released (PDF) 03 March by the industry estimates that supermarkets make.
GBP16 million in profit each week from pork products while processors make around GBP8 million.
The report says farmers are currently losing GBP3 million per week, or about GBP20 on every pig sold.
An estimated 450 farmers demonstrated outside Downing Street today, accompanied by celebrity supporters including TV personality Christine Hamilton, pop singer Liz McClarnon and sports presenter Sharron Davies.
Gloucestershire farmer James Hart said: “The price of wheat is through the roof and so feed prices are sky-high.
“We want consumers to ask for British (pork). They should not have to pay more for it because retailers make a massive margin on it.
“All the retailers need to do is trim their margins slightly – we’re talking one or two pence a packet of bacon.”
Barney Kay, of the National Pig Association, said: “This is an SOS to supermarkets, processors, consumers and MPs.
“UK animal welfare standards are among the highest in Europe. If British farmers cut pork production or go out of business consumers will lose the choice to buy high welfare produce and could also face far higher prices in the long term as supply falls.”
He said farmers won a temporary reprieve in 2008 when they faced a similar crisis.
But he added: “The situation today is worse. Feed prices look set to stay high for the foreseeable future. Most farmers are currently losing around GBP20 per pig produced which is obviously disastrous. We need around another 30p per kilo to break even.”
MP Richard Bacon said: “Pig farming makes a valuable contribution to rural economies up and down the UK, including in my own constituency.
“Supermarkets are not currently fulfilling previous commitments to stock higher levels of British pork and I hope this is something we can change.”
Source: BPEX