NPA spreading the industry message far and wide
2nd Feb 2021 / By Alistair Driver
The NPA continues to spread the message far and wide about the ‘perfect storm’ hitting the pig sector, as national and international media interest grows.
NPA staff, officeholders and members have discussed the issues over the past days with outlets ranging from the international broadcaster Al Jazeera and German publication TAZ to various local broadcasting channels and the farming media. There has just been an inquiry from the New York Times.
The publication of a press release in January and a letter to Defra Secretary George Eustice by NPA chairman Richard Lister highlighted the NPA’s main concerns and aims. These include:
- In summary, the industry is facing a ‘perfect storm’ of events that is creating a backlog of pigs on farms that is proving difficult to clear.
- Pork plants continue to be affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, reducing weekly throughputs and causing pigs to be rolled.
- This has been compounded by new Brexit checks and paper-based certification requirements at borders, which have caused delays, in some cases resulting in shipments not reaching their destinations.
- But, at the same time, checks are not being applied to imports from the EU as the UK is phasing in its checks - at a time when EU pork is particularly cheap due to surpluses across the EU caused by COVID-19 outbreaks and Germany’s ASF export ban.
- Meanwhile, UK pig prices are falling and costs of production are rising, with many producers either already losing money or expecting to be operating on negative margins soon.
- The NPA, which is talking to processors, is calling for a cross-industry approach to addressing the backlog of pigs on farm and, along with the British Meat Processors Association, is urging the Government to take steps to speed up the process of certifying meat products, including by digitising the system.
Recent press coverage includes:Al Jazeera, which has a huge international reach, visited Richard’s farm in Yorkshire to to discuss ‘UK meat producers’ struggle to navigate new EU customs checks’. “This is a threat to our whole industry,” Richard said. You can view the feature HERE
Continuing the international theme, thanks to the NPA’s Charlie Dewhirst, we got a mention in German publication TAZ’s take on the struggles of British business to cope with the new rules.
The NPA’s Lizzie Wilson did a great job in spreading the message in an interview on Radio Suffolk on Monday (from 42.20).
Chief executive Zoe Davies was quoted in an article on the influential Politics Home website, detailing how ‘Pigs Heads Are Rotting In Rotterdam As Brexit Delays Hit The British Meat Industry’.
Rob also appeared on ITV Anglia - you can read more about that and some of the early coverage of the press release HERE
Richard featured in a Sunday Times article (see below), while Charlie spoke to the Telegraph.
This is just some of the coverage – NPA producer members are due to speak to Reuters and Bloomberg and there has been more regional and trade press coverage.