8:00 a.m. July 17, 2022
The government has launched a review aimed at “increasing fairness and transparency” in the pig industry.
Defra’s pork supply chain consultation follows a series of recent challenges for one of East Anglia’s major livestock sectors.
These include soaring feed and fuel prices, and labor shortages at processing plants, which have resulted in a huge backlog of pigs on farms.
Earlier this year Norfolk farmers warned of an exodus from the industry unless prices improve to counter mounting financial losses.
Agriculture Minister Victoria Prentis said: “The past few months have been very difficult for pig farmers due to a range of pressures including rising costs and global labor shortages. .
“We have engaged closely with the sector to help them significantly reduce the backlog of pigs on farms and I continue to work with producers and retailers to support the sector.
“I am a firm believer in ‘Buy British’ and support our domestic pork producers, and a fair and transparent supply chain is paramount. I hope industry will fully engage in this consultation so that we can help address the challenges they face.
The review of ‘contracting practices in the UK pig sector’ will run until October 7 and is seeking views from pig farmers, slaughterhouses, processors, retailers and marketing groups.
Industry leaders said the long-awaited review must lead to measures that protect and benefit pork producers early in the supply chain.
National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies, who is due to take on a new role as East Anglia regional manager for the National Farmers’ Union in August, said: “For us it’s about protecting the primary producer .
“Recently we’ve seen how the costs fall back on primary producers, so we want better protections in the contracts that exist in the supply chain.”
She added that it was “absolutely imperative” that retailers be part of this review.
“It’s something we referred to Defra because retailers define the environment in which processors work,” she said.
“So we need to make sure that retailers are part of this discussion and are as responsible as the rest of the supply chain for transparency and fair play.”