Hands off pig levy say producers

The English pig industry has urged the government to keep out of decisions about how the pig levy is spent. 

In a poll on the National Pig Association (NPA) website, 96% of members who took part agreed the sector’s recent Pulled Pork campaign was a good pig levy investment, while 97% said Defra should not dictate how the pig levy is spent, including whether future AHDB Pork marketing campaigns get the go-ahead or not. Ninety-six per cent of producers surveyed want more of their 85p-per-pig levy to be spent on marketing, to encourage younger consumers to understand and embrace modern ways of cooking and serving pork.

Concerns over Defra intervention were highlighted this week when AHDB Beef & Lamb chairman Stuart Roberts resigned over fears AHDB levies would be “lost to the realms of a remote tax that the industry will have little or no influence over”.

NPA chairman Richard Lister said: “As diets change in our sophisticated marketplace, intelligent and informative marketing to explain the benefits of red meat is absolutely essential if British producers are to grow – or even just maintain – the domestic customer base. If AHDB cannot achieve this on behalf of levy-payers because of government interference, then it is hard to see what its role will be going forwards.”

Independent research shows phase one of the six-week Pulled Pork campaign in May-June created a 19.2% uplift in volume sales of fresh pork shoulder. Phase two of the campaign will run in January-February 2016, when one of the goals will be to continue rejuvenating pork’s image with younger consumers. Currently £3.8m of the pig levy is spent on AHDB Pork marketing activity, about 40% of the sector board’s total annual spend.

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