Swine producers in Ukraine are considering plans to produce premium pork without the use of antibiotics, even though opinion polls show the local population is not bothered about antibiotic resistance nor is it ready to pay extra to prevent it.
The Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders has begun talks with farmers on a national standard on antibiotic-free pigs, Oksana Yurchenko, president of the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders, said. The project is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Yurchenko said, “In the world of pandemics and epizootics, consumers are increasingly asking questions about the safety and health of the meat they consume. It is not enough for the company to simply put on a “no-antibiotics” label to meet this demand. Such labelling must be the result of meeting high criteria, which are controlled not only by the internal protocols at the production facility but also by the market regulator and independent agencies.”
Yurchenko went on saying that pork and meat producers from companies participating in the new labelling campaign would be of the highest quality and safety. She added that the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders would run studies on the presence of antibiotic-resistant strains in Ukraine. Yurchenko stressed, “This practice is one of the first precedents in the world [of actions] in favour of the domestic consumer.”
It remains to be seen whether pork produced without using antibiotics would be in high demand in Ukraine. An opinion poll conducted by Nielsen Ukraine and ordered by the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders showed that Ukrainian customers were not ready to pay extra for organic pork or that of premium quality.
In a statement, the business association wrote, “Currently, the demand for organic pork is only just being formed in Ukraine, though it is not massive.” The trend had not yet impacted the market demand. Concerns about superbugs are also traditionally remaining low among the population in the post-Soviet countries, and Ukraine is not an exception.
In a similar way, Ukrainians were found not ready to pay for premium cuts. The Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders said that the best cuts are offered in the US for $ 25 to $ 30 per unit. According to the opinion poll, none of the responders said he was ready to pay some extra costs for having good quality pork.
A rather low per capita purchasing power is believed to be the main reason why Ukrainians would not opt for premium cuts or organic pork. The average monthly salary in the country currently stands at 14,313 hryvnia ($ 528), according to the Ukraine’s State Statistics Service.