Producers must target the £15 per head differential - Carr

THE managing director of Vion’s pork processing operation, Seamus Carr, has confirmed that the business is undergoing a major restructuring in order to future proof its long term viability.

He made these comments while speaking at this week’s Agenda NI’s agri food conference, thereby adding to the expectation that the plant at Cookstown will remain a major player with the Irish pig processing sector, irrespective of whose name is above the front door. Vion announced a number of weeks ago that it was withdrawing entirely from the UK market and that all of its pork, redmeat and poultry processing operations are now up for sale.

Mr Carr went on to point out that his core objective will remain that of ensuring that the processing operations at Cookstown are as efficient as they possibly can be while, at the same time, improving supply chain efficiency.

“This means working with farmers to generate the most profitable pig for the compete supply chain. In achieving this we will manage to narrow the £15 per pig gap of profitability gap that exists between the most and least profitable pig for the business,” he further explained.

“I can only focus on what I can influence. For example, I have no control over the world’s grain and protein markets. Naturally, I am fully aware of the tremendous input cost pressures that are impacting on every local pig business at the present time.

“And I remain fully committed to working with farmers so as to ensure that they are producing the right pigs for my business. If they are doing that, then they will receive the direct benefit of improved returns.

“Asking me what price I am paying for pigs this week or any other week is totally irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The core challenge facing pig farmers is that of improving the quality of the pigs they are producing and their suitability for processing.”

On the issue of getting the best possible return for processed pigs, Seamus Carr went on to confirm that growing niche market opportunities now existed in countries such as China now exist.

“We need to be targeting these markets as a matter of priority. If we don’t our competitors in other parts of the world will!”


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