NPA outlines priorities ahead of pig crisis summit
The National Pig Association (NPA) has said it will seek several commitments from government and the pork supply chain to address the pig crisis at the summit on Thursday (10th February).
The NPA, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and pig producers will be joined by representatives from major retailer and pork processors at an industry roundtable meeting at Defra’s headquarters.
Farming Minister Victoria Prentis agreed to convene the summit, following a joint request from NPA chairman Rob Mutimer and NFU president Minette Batters.
Ahead of the summit, NPA and NFU have published a series of “key asks” which include:
- Government to look at providing financial support for “most badly affected” producers, as has been provided in other parts of the UK and various EU countries
- The government to simplify the skilled worker visa route, including easing the English language requirement or putting butchers onto the shortage occupation list
- Processors to set out and stick to a plan for getting rid of the backlog of contracted pigs. NPA said that the plan should prioritise those producers most badly affected by the backlog and it must be agreed with producers. The association said it should not include “very cheap deals, unless there is clear justification”
- Retailers to agree to support processors in using the measures set out in the government support package, for example working with them on product going into Private Storage Aid and supporting additional kills under the Slaughter Incentive Payment Scheme (SIPS)
- The government to allow valuable cuts from pig carcases from the extra SIPS kills to be sold in UK retail outlets, rather than only be exported or put into Private Storage.
The organisations are also requesting retailers move more lines from EU pork to British pork and to stop selling imported bone-in joints that need to be butchered in the UK for retail packing. As part of the proposals, retailers should also agree to mass promotion of British pork, with key joints/cuts to be specified by processors.
Additionally, they are asking processors to reduce penalties for producers for overweight pigs, especially where the carcases are sold into markets which require no specification.
The bodies have also called for Defra to publish whatever is agreed in a ‘Pig Supply Chain Charter’ that can be used to show progress in implementing the above measures.