British pig farmers are complaining they have not benefited from the global surge in pigmeat prices created by China’s African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic.
The National Pig Association (NPA) says higher prices have not been passed on by UK processors and estimate British farmers have lost out on up to £13 million over the five weeks to late May.
The NPA is now keen to discuss the possibility of a pork supply chain Code of Conduct to ensure more transparent pricing.
Processors, meanwhile, have blamed the slow UK price recovery on the large tonnage of stockpiled pigmeat which was put into storage ahead of the UK’s expected exit from the EU at the end of March.
However NPA chief executive Zoe Davies dismissed this as an “excuse” and not sufficient to explain the static prices, with all the other major pig producing countries benefiting from the EU reference price rocketing by 30p/kg since early February to stand at nearly 147p/kg in mid-May. By contrast the UK price has barely moved until recently.
Ms Davies said: “These figures highlight the extent to which UK producers are losing out because of the actions of UK processors.
“We are talking about losses in the region of £8m to £13m over just five weeks, which is unacceptable.”
Andy McGowan, the chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, which supplies the Brechin pig abattoir, commented: “Imported European pigmeat is now more expensive than the home-produced product, so we will see a correction.
“The tide has started to turn in the last three weeks, with prices up by around 5p/kg.
“But it has taken two to three months to start to correct, whereas it usually takes four to six weeks.”