Quiet confidence as prices stabilise

ALTHOUGH THE UK breeding herd is expected to witness another drop in 2006, the mood within the industry is more confident, said Mick Sloyan, chief executive of the British Pig Executive (BPEX).

Looking at recent UK pig market trends, Mr Sloyan said that between 2000 and 2005 pig meat prices had been more stable compared to the EU-15 which had been more volatile.

Mr Sloyan said the key issues for the sector this year are production costs, competitiveness and improving animal health. Enhancing the image of pork and pork products, particularly in the premium sector, is also vital as is addressing government health concerns with regards to meat products.

He said the WTO negotiations would not have a direct impact on trade this year but market access, especially tariff reduction, would have an eventual knock-on effect. He said the WTO timetable was ambitious and put pressure on the EU to make a decision about whether pig meat should be defined as a sensitive product.

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