The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) has voiced its concerns over the rapidly approaching release back onto the market of stored EU pigmeat.
Noting that the volume of pigmeat currently in store across Europe equates to almost 800,000 pigs, or “half the annual production in Northern Ireland”, UFU’s pork and bacon chairman, Jonny Cuddy (pictured above), has highlighted the commercial challenge this poses for the UK industry.
“With the pigmeat price here sitting at around £1.20 a kilo since early March, there are concerns that as the first of this product comes out of the (EU private storage) scheme in July it could undermine traditional summer price rises,” he said.
“If this happens, and consumer demand fails to recover over the summer, prices will remain under pressure as we move into the autumn/winter months – and that cannot be good for farmers or processors.”
Given the scale of the threat this would pose to farm businesses, the UFU has further highlighted the “importance of regaining access to markets that have imposed restrictions on EU pork products, such as Japan and China”.
Fresh from taking part in discussions in Brussels, organised by Copa-cogeca, Mr Cuddy supported the organisation’s call for an “increase in the number of EU inspectors to approve abattoirs and accelerate export health certificate negotiations with countries that have free trade agreements with the EU”.
“The group is also pressing for wider promotion for the pig sector, highlighting the huge investments farmers have made to ensure EU pigs are produced to the highest animal welfare standards in the world,” he said.