Government launches review of pig supply chain

Government launches review of pig supply chain

The government has launched a review, published on Defra’s website, that seeks to improve the fairness and transparency of the UK pig sector and wider food supply chain.

Dr Zoe Davies, NPA chief executive.

Running until 7th October, the review invites opinions from pig farmers, abattoirs, processors, retailers, marketing groups and all stakeholders involved in the pig supply chain across the UK.

There are 47 questions, seeking views on issues such as transparency, price reporting, clarity of contractual terms and conditions, and market consolidation. While the questions focus very much on the relations between producers and processors, there is an opportunity to comment on ‘any other issues or suggestions regarding the pig supply chain’, which could include the role played by retailers.

It is a UK wide consultation, undertaken by Defra with the backing of the Scottish government, Welsh government and DAERA.

Once responses have been analysed, a summary of views will be published to outline findings and propose any actions. The review states that any further action in response to the findings of this consultation will be discussed and agreed with the Devolved Administrations.

Speaking on the Farming Today programme, Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said that recent months had been “very difficult for pig farmers” due a range of pressures, including rising production costs and ongoing labour shortages.

She added: “I am a firm believer in ‘Buy British’ and supporting our domestic pig producers, and a fair and transparent supply chain is paramount. I hope the industry engages fully with this consultation so that we can help to address the challenges that they are facing.”

Support needed now

Dr Zoe Davies of the National Pig Association (NPA) said that government need to look at the basic things that producers need to their supply. She said: “We need contracts to protect both [producers and processors] that actually have a legal standing. But we’d also like to see a mandatory code of conduct to agree the terms of engagement, so both parties are protected.”

She added: “Producers are now in their seventh consecutive quarter of losses, which not many businesses, let alone the small independents, can survive. The concern is that, if things aren’t done now to protect British pig supply, there won’t be a pig industry in the future.”

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