NPA manifesto calls for supply chain fairness

NPA manifesto calls for supply chain fairness

The National Pig Association (NPA) has called for fairness in the supply chain and protection of UK borders as part of its election manifesto.

The association called for protection of UK borders to prevent the spread of ASF.

The NPA called on the main political parties to act to “deliver fairness” in the supply chain and to protect UK borders from diseases like African swine fever (ASF), ahead of an expected General Election this year.

In the manifesto, the association set out three overriding priorities for the pig sector in election year:

  • A supply chain that works for all
  • Investment in Britain’s biosecurity
  • Protection for our “world-leading” animal health and welfare.

Under the first heading, the NPA highlighted the need for the Defra Contractual Practice Review into the UK Pig Sector to lead to “concrete actions and a mandatory code that better protects primary producers by distributing risk throughout the supply chain more proportionately”. NPA said that this code must cover the entire supply chain, including retailers, so costs and pressures are “shared more equitably”.

The NPA also said it wants to see more done to promote British pork through clearer country-of-origin labelling, more public procurement of home grown produce and investment in export markets.

The manifesto goes on to highlight how the lack of resource for border checks for high-risk goods moving from the EU to Great Britain poses a “grave threat” to the UK’s biosecurity and its ability to prevent notifiable diseases, such as ASF. It was reiterated that more than 65 tonnes of illegal meat products have been seized at the port of Dover since September 2022, despite limited funding, and yet Defra is proposing to slash funding for this “vital work”.

Therefore, the NPA has called for improved and increased border controls for meat imports and for sufficient resource to be made available at major ports, such as Dover, alongside an urgent ban on all non-commercial pork imports, removing the current 2kg limit and strict penalties for any individuals caught bringing illegal meat into the UK.

The association said it also wants a review of APHA resource and expertise to ensure it is capable of responding “quickly and effectively” to notifiable disease outbreaks.

Maintaining UK standards

Under the third part of the manifesto, the NPA highlighted how the British pig sector has “led the way” in making the UK a global leader in animal and welfare, including the progress in reducing antibiotic usage in recent years.

According to the NPA, the manifesto makes two “key calls” to help maintain this. The first is for the next Government to take an evidence-based approach to animal welfare policy and work side-by-side with the industry on future policies, particularly in relation to reform of farrowing systems. The second is an insistence that future trade deals must not give access to pork produced in systems that would be illegal in the UK.

Chairman of the NPA, Rob Mutimer, said: “The UK pig sector is currently in recovery mode following a disastrous two-year period that saw producers suffer huge financial losses, resulting in a significant contraction of the breeding herd.

“To get back to where we want to be, delivering high quality pork products for the nation, produced to the very highest standards, we need the next Government to support us by making the food chain fairer, protecting our borders and taking a balanced and collaborative approach to regulation.”

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