NPA warns CO2 shortage could mean “game over” for some producers
Dr Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association (NPA), has once again called for urgent action over the 110,000 pigs backed up on farms because of the ongoing labour and CO2 shortages.
CO2 is used across the food and drinks industry, including for stunning animals at abattoirs before slaughter.
Davies told ITV news: “If this CO2 shortage is not resolved very quickly, we are a couple of weeks away from being forced to cull perfectly healthy animals on farm and throw them in the bin. It is also completely wasteful and it’s completely financially ruinous.”
Davies told Bloomberg that producers are already cutting back the number of sows for breeding by about 5%, although it will take about nine to 10 months for that to curb the herd.
She added: “They’re very frightened because they just don’t know what the endgame is going to be. If we don’t get CO2 back, it will be game over for a lot of people.”
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has written to the government, warning that the food supply chain is “now seriously compromised by the disruptions in the supply of CO2.”
In his letter to the Secretary of State for Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, Wright explained that two thirds of the CO2 volume that normally supplies the food and drink industry is now not available following the suspension of manufacturing by key producers – principally fertiliser manufacturers who produce CO2 as a by-product.
Wright warned that the FDF were now aware of some companies who have already had to stop production, and others that “will cease within the week.”
The FDF has asked the government to:
- Make any subsidies connected to the current issue of wholesale gas prices available for the manufacturers of fertiliser to ensure there is no further deterioration across the UK food and drink supply, and production can be restored
- Prioritise any existing CO2 supply, for the health and emergency services and the UK food and drink industry.
Within the letter, the FDF boss also urged the government to consider a joint-funded project with industry “to ensure they do all they can to ensure supply is protected over the medium-term.”