NPA calls on Defra to back British pig farmers, after further Scottish funding announced
10th May 2022 / By Alistair Driver
The NPA has again called on the Government and supply chain to support British pig producers, after a further tranche of funding was announced in Scotland.
The Scottish Pig Producers Hardship Support Scheme launched in August 2021 provided targeted support of £715,000 to eligible pig producers who had supplied the Quality Pig Processors (QPP) plant at Brechin for the Covid-related price reductions they suffered.
It was extended in January 2022 by a further £680,000 and an additional £410,000 of support will now be made available, bringing the scheme total to just over £1.8 million.
NFU Scotland’s pigs working group chair, Jamie Wyllie said, with the Scottish sector was 'on the brink of losing the critical mass it needs' and, for those supplying Brechin, 'this Scottish Government support has recognised the crisis'.
"However, the funding must be judged against the scale of the losses that all Scottish pig producers, not just those supplying Brechin. This fund will not solve the crisis. Solutions are needed now to turn the sector around and address the problems within the supply chain to ensure producers are getting a fair return from the market for their long-term security."
Highlighting the huge disparity between pig price and cost of production, he urged retailers and processors 'to understand this and support their suppliers'.
NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson urged Defra to take similar action to support producers in England, who are also facing unprecedented challenges, with many standing on the brink of being forced to quit. She also called on the supply chain to do more to protect its long-term supply of pork.
"Whilst we are pleased for our Scottish members, yet again our pig producers members are frustrated to learn that their Scottish counterparts are being financially supported by their government.
"NPA survey data suggests there are still 100,000 pigs stuck on farms that should have gone to slaughter and farmers are losing in excess of £50 per pig due to the enormous gap between their cost of production and the price the supply chain is paying for pork.
"The pig industry has already lost an estimated 10% of the breeding herd as producers have left the industry or cut down on production, while polling of British pig farmers by NPA shows that 80% will not be able to survive the next 12 months unless the gap between the cost of production and pig prices is significantly reduced.
"Our pig producers need help now, either from government or the rest of the supply chain."
Producers in Northern Ireland, Ireland, France and other EU countries have received direct support from Government in recognition of the dire situation on pig farms, but Defra has repeatedly turned down requests for support in England.