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An update on the pig supply chain review

2nd Aug 2023 / By Charlie Dewhirst

It has been three months since Defra published the ‘summary of responses’ of its review into Contractual Practice in the UK Pig Sector and I am sure many in the industry are keen to know what progress has been made since. 

Charlie DewhirstIn April, Defra set out its next steps, confirming that it will commence work developing regulations for pig contracts, using section 29 of the Agriculture Act 2020, over this summer.

They are also developing regulations to collect and disseminate more supply chain data, particularly in relation to wholesale price transparency and national slaughter numbers, and they are working with the industry on both fronts.

NPA is in regular contact with the team at Defra and we have been very encouraged by the additional resource that has been allocated to them. We are meeting as and when they need information from industry, and we continue to feed in anything relevant shared with the team.

We expect to hear more detail on the proposals in the autumn, and there will then be an opportunity for everyone to digest them and provide feedback. Defra has learnt a lot from the dairy supply chain work, and we expect the pig contract regulations to ensure sufficient flexibility on both sides.

It is also worth stressing that, although the dairy regulations will take more than three years to come into force, we expect our process, while it will certainly be thorough and lengthy, to conclude within a shorter timeframe.

It can be frustrating during Government reviews like this, when it feels as though everything has gone quiet and you wonder what is happening behind the scenes.

In this instance, we are very reassured by the regular engagement with the Defra team and the progress they are making. We look forward to seeing the detailed proposals in due course and will be encouraging everyone to give their views before anything is taken forward to legislation.