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Where next for the British pig industry?

27th Mar 2019 / By Alistair Driver

In an excellent article for the Government's Open Access website, NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has set out her thoughts on the future of the pig industry. 

Zoe Davies1After the 'rough ride' of recent years, Zoe predicts that there are 'many pitfalls looming', with Brexit clearly one of the biggest'.

"A continued lack of clarity over the future has had a significant impact, affecting confidence to invest, expand and encourage new entrants," she wrote.

"Everything has been on hold. Many pig farmers watch with horror as politicians debate permitting pork imports from countries, such as the US with standards far beneath our own. The future will undoubtedly be tough and we must rely on our high welfare credentials and stringent standards to survive."

Zoe discusses the threat posed by African swine fever. "Needless to say, if ASF makes its way to the UK, the impact would be devastating, not only to pig keepers but to the myriad of businesses that rely on tourism, as large areas of the countryside could be shut down in order to prevent further spread. The more we can spread the message about the threat, the less likely we are to see its arrival," she said.

She also highlighted grounds for optimism, including the growth of the Chinese export market and the boost given to UK pork by Red Tractor standards, ensuring the pork is high quality, safe and traceable.

But looking ahead to future pig farming generations, she notes that: "Misinformation and propaganda about pig farming is increasingly being used by certain groups taking advantage of the gradual disconnect between people and food production. This has not only contributed to a decline in support for agriculture but has also impacted on future availability of labour."

You can read the full article here