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We have been left 'high and dry' - NPA Farming Today interview highlights concerns over breeding pig exports

4th Dec 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Rattlerow’s Simon Guise has told the BBC why the imminent loss of the UK’s EU live breeding pig export trade is such a concern for the industry.

Simon GuiseAs things stand, the trade in breeding pig exports to the EU will cease on January 1, 2021, due to a lack of Border Control Posts (BCPs) where pigs can be inspected at key seaports in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.  

The NPA been in direct contact with some of the ports, but they have made it clear they are not interested in setting up BCPs. The NPA, which is also working with Defra on various issues, recently identified this as one of a number of areas of concern regarding EU Exit. It is calling for more urgency from Government to address them.  

Simon, who is also a member of the NPA’s Pig Industry Group, gave an excellent interview on BBC Farming Today this morning, in which he explained how important the trade is to breeding companies.

You listen to the interview HERE (from 4 mins, 30 sec)

“We run breeding programmes right across Europe,” he said. “We have partners in Europe that run breeding programmes as well. We will export breeding stock to them and import breeding stock to ensure genetic improvement and that UK farmers are able to access those high value genetics."

But with all these animals going through BCPs, the lack of these facilities means breeding companies won’t be able to export any breeding stock. With no interest from ports currently, and the ‘prohibitive’ cost of air travel ruling that out, the breeding industry has been left ‘high and dry’, he added.

“It is not a Government thing. It is just down to the cost of infrastructure at ports. There is little we can do other than lobby those ports that have shown an interest and help them see a way they can provide this service.

“Effectively, we are looking for a lairage area, where pigs can be unloaded or inspected and there will be a charge to us for doing that.”

While the semen export trade can continue, Simon stressed that, without live female breeding pig exports, the industry can only realise ‘50% of the opportunity’.

Breeding pig imports will be able to continue at least until July when BCPs will be required in the UK.

Defra said: “We support the creation of BCPs facilities to enable to the export of livestock for breeding, but ultimately this is a commercial decision that lies with EU port operators.”

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