UK-wide review of pig supply chain launched

The government has today launched a UK-wide review of the pig sector to increase fairness and transparency in the industry.
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The consultation follows recent challenges experienced by the sector due to global pressures, including rising costs and labour shortages, which have raised questions about the functioning of the supply chain.

It seeks views on issues such as transparency, price reporting, clarity of contractual terms and conditions, and market consolidation.

It will run until 7 October 2022 and invites views from pig farmers, abattoirs, processors, retailers, marketing groups and all stakeholders involved in the pig supply chain across the whole country.

Pigs on Norman Robson's farm, Doagh. Picture: Cliff DonaldsonPigs on Norman Robson's farm, Doagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Pigs on Norman Robson's farm, Doagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Today’s announcement is the latest action from the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations to support farmers as they have been dealing with turbulence in international commodity markets, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to increased input costs, including feed, fuel, energy, and fertiliser.

Northern Ireland Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, said: “The pig sector has seen significant challenges recently with pig farmers being financially impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, a marked reduction in skilled labour, increased feed costs and moving pigs off the farm for slaughter.

“I am committed to raising the issue of fairness for pig farmers in the marketplace and exploring further any issues faced in the pig sector. I am pleased that Northern Ireland stakeholders will have the opportunity to take part in this UK wide consultation and I strongly encourage all Northern Ireland stakeholders to respond.”

Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, commented: “Recent months have been very difficult for pig farmers due to a range of pressures including rising costs and global labour shortages.

“We have engaged closely with the sector to support them in considerably reducing the backlog of pigs on farms and I continue to work with producers and retailers to support the sector.

“I am a firm believer in ‘Buy British’ and supporting our domestic pig producers, and a fair and transparent supply chain is paramount.

“I hope the industry engages fully with this consultation so that we can help to address the challenges that they are facing.”

Scottish Government’s Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, added: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the continued lack of available skilled labour have had a disproportionate impact on the pig sector.

“It is imperative that we understand the current supply arrangements within the sector and explore the nature of the relationships between the various parties in the supply chain.

“I welcome this consultation, with the hope that it effects proposals for a more consistent approach across the pig supply chain.

“I would like to encourage all producers and processors, across Scotland, to take part in this consultation and ensure that their voices are heard on this matter.”

Also commenting, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, said: “These are challenging times for the pig sector and I encourage everyone involved in the industry in Wales to respond to the consultation.

“This will enable us to gather important feedback and evidence about how supply arrangements in the pig sector currently function, and to explore the nature of the relationships between the various parties in the supply chain.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the industry, as well as governments across the UK, to ensure a resilient future for our Welsh pig sector.”

Once responses have been analysed, a summary of responses will be published to outline findings and propose any actions.