BBC hears how loss of breeding pig exports will hurt pig sector

UK pig breeding companies have been left ‘high and dry’ by the refusal of a number of European ports to set up Border Control Posts to facilitate imports from the UK after January 1, Rattlerow’s UK sales manager Simon Guise has told the BBC. 

As things stand, the trade in breeding pig exports to the EU will cease on January 1, 2021, due to a lack of 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.

Mr Guise, 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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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.