Pig and poultry campaign together

Poultry leaders are joining forces with the pig industry to campaign for better prices for pig and poultry farmers.

The NFU and the National Pig Association are set to announce the move at a press conference in London this morning, where they will warn of the consequences for supplies of pork, bacon and poultry meat if farm-gate prices do not rise to match the steep increase in feed costs.

The NPA said crisis point has been reached with the pig sector losing £3.9m per week due to increased feed costs alone. But a rise of just 7-17p per retail pack for pork and 12-15p/kilo for poultry or per dozen eggs at the farm-gate in the prices paid by processors and retailers to farmers would be all it takes to secure the sectors' future - and more importantly safeguard UK production, the two organisations claimed.

In addition further leaps are expected in feed prices to the poultry sector, reaching at least 30-40 per cent in the autumn, which could see feed costs rise from £180 to £230/tonne. Pig production sees around half of the farmer's costs taken with feed and with a current price for pork at £1.09 per kilo, on average, they lose £26 per finished pig.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "Last month, as part of the supermarket price war, Asda promoted and sold its £2 chicken. This is clearly unsustainable and sends completely the wrong message. However things are changing with Tesco this week announcing its plans to sell the same size bird for £3.39 - a rise of four per cent.

"While this increase is good news we need to see it reflected throughout the supply chain and passed back to the farm-gate. Soaring feed costs are a global phenomenon, as wheat is traded on the world market, so importing chicken and pork from abroad is not the answer. The era is cheap food is coming, and must come, to an end."

Both NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns and NPA chairman Stewart Houston echoed Kendall's views and believe an increase in price paid to farmers is the only way of preventing meltdown in the sectors and stem the losses due to the feed price increase

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