Move to suspend pig levy

With the British pig industry facing a crisis from rocketing feed prices, the British Pig Executive (BPEX) has launched a major campaign to improve returns to producers.

Part of this is a proposal for a temporary suspension of the pig levy, which is now out to consultation with the industry.

The proposal is for a three-month suspension which would cost BPEX about £2m. This shortfall would be met from reserves.

On top of that, BPEX is investing £500,000 in a campaign to get retailer prices up and to see that rise passed down the chain to the producer.

On retail packs, the rise needed would amount to between 7 and 17p depending on the cut.

A report outlining the effects of a doubling of feed prices has been published by BPEX and a survey has determined consumers are willing to pay a higher price.

The plight of producers was highlighted at all three main political party conferences. A briefing has also been prepared and distributed to food writers explaining what has happened and what needs to be done.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: "The levy of £1.05 is not a huge amount when compared with the amount pig farmers are losing - £20 per pig sold.

"But it is part of a much bigger overall plan aimed at getting producers a fair return which will in turn help create a sustainable pig industry for the future."

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