NPA welcomes Tesco funding to support pig sector

NPA welcomes Tesco funding to support pig sector

The National Pig Association (NPA) has welcomed an announcement by Tesco that it will introduce an accelerated and enhanced payment plan that will see its suppliers increase payments to farmers by £6.6 million until August 2022.

At the beginning of May, NPA chairman Rob Mutimer wrote to Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy asking the retailer to do more to support the pig industry, with most of the big UK retailers having already taken steps to get more money to producers.

In a statement, Tesco said that this new action will bring its support for farmers to a total of £10 million since the start of March 2022. The retailer has also pledged to work with its suppliers to ensure the investment gets passed to farmers as quickly as possible.

Tesco said it has been supporting the industry since the turn of the year to help tackle the other major challenge it’s faced by stepping forward and taking more pigs to help clear the backlog of animals on British farms. It added that, since January 2022, it has taken an extra 32,000 pigs, and plans to take a further extra 22,000 in the months ahead.

Tesco point out that the support follows several initiatives designed to help British pig farmers and boost the amount of British pork in Tesco stores. Measures include:

  • Adding more fresh British pork products in store – five lines have recently been moved to British supply in recent weeks.
  • Introducing an additional 15 pork promotions in store for customers since January.
  • Launching an ‘I Love British’ brand in its bacon range, with a ham product launching later this month. As part of the brand, a 5p per pack contribution will be passed onto farmers in the supply chain.
  • The continued growth of Tesco’s Finest range of pork products, including fresh pork, sausages, bacon and cooked meat products which are all RSPCA Assured and Red Tractor certified.
  • The retailer has increased its British Pork products by 30% compared to last year.

Over the longer-term, Tesco says it has committed to reviewing pricing on a more frequent basis, providing more flexibility for farmers when market prices change. It said it will also work with UK suppliers to build a closer relationship with farmers, increase transparency in pig supply chains and ensure they are sustainable for the long-term.

A welcome boost

Commenting on the announcement, Rob Mutimer (NPA chairman) said: “We are very pleased that Tesco has responded following our letter to chief executive Ken Murphy, with some much-needed extra financial support for the pig industry. 

“This is a very welcome boost for beleaguered pig farmers, who are currently facing unprecedented costs of production and need a tangible increase in the price they are being paid in order to stay in business.

“We look forward to seeing the pig price rising very soon as a result of this action and hopefully we can begin to stem the flow of producers exiting the industry.”

Driving transparency

Tesco fresh commercial director, Dominic Morrey, added: “We fully recognise the seriousness of the situation UK pig farmers are facing and have been working closely with our suppliers to understand what more we can do to support the sector.

“We know there is more to do, and we will be working with suppliers, farmers and the wider industry to drive more transparency and sustainability across our supply chains and support the future of the British pig industry.”

Jim Brisby, chief commercial officer for Tesco pork supplier, Cranswick said: “We’ve been working with Tesco to find a more sustainable way of paying our farmers for pigs, and we are pleased with the progress we have made to increase the availability of British pork to Tesco shoppers, and are continuing to work with the team to significantly increase these volumes even further over the next few months.

“The announcement today regarding the increased prices paid to British farmers will also help to support those farmers supplying Tesco.”

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