Pig producers could be forced out of the business, warns AHDB Pork

A report issued by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Pork division has revealed that the price pig farmers and producers are receiving for their produce has fallen by a third over a two-year period.

If this continues, many will be forced to leave the industry, said the levy board.

Produced by the industry body’s market intelligence team, the report aims to provide an overview of the pig industry in the UK and an insight into the state of the UK market.

It was revealed that, since late 2013, the average pig price has fallen steadily, with pigs losing a third of their value during that period. In the past 12 weeks, pigs have lost 13p/kg, equating to £11 a head, said AHDB Pork.

Subsequently, many producers are losing money and they could be forced out of the market. This would have a knock-on effect on the amount of local pork in the UK supply chain.

“The report has been produced against a backdrop where production continues to rise as efficiency and productivity improve and record weights are being seen,” said Stephen Howarth, AHDB Pork’s market specialist manager.

“This all leads to more pig meat on the market. At the same time, demand for pork has dropped, even though the price is falling. UK pork is having to battle hard against cheaper EU imports, exacerbated by the weakness of the euro against sterling and a supply glut on the continent due to increased production and the closure of trading routes to major export partners.”

The report highlighted a number of other obstacles facing the industry. One example is consumers’ shopping habits. It was revealed that customers were buying fewer pork products and more convenience-based foods, where pork does not feature heavily. The current pulled pork campaign is hoping to have a reverse effect on this.

AHDB Pork also reported that there was little sign of any herd rationalisation in the UK, as the falling cost of production helped to cushion some of the price falls in 2015.

The full report can be read here.

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