MPs farmgate pricing inquiry examines pigmeat issues

A warning that British pig producers are losing £6-7 a pig was given yesterday to the UK environment, food and rural affairs committee (EFRA) as part of its current inquiry into the decline of farmgate prices.

The pig sector position was presented by the National Pig Association’s Lizzie Wilson, sitting alongside the National Farmers Union’s Phil Bicknell and the National Sheep Association’s Phil Stocker.

“We’ve really gone from bust to boom and back to bust again in the last five years,” Ms Wilson told the EFRA committee, adding that from a starting point of 140p/kg in 2010, pig prices had risen to 174p/kg in 2011, only to now be at 130/133p/kg.

While acknowledging that feed costs were also quite low, Ms Wilson warned that, in itself, meant the industry was in a “vulnerable position” if feed prices were to start rising.

She also said that even at today’s low feed costs, a 133p/kg pig price meant that producers were losing £6-7 a pig currently.

Ms Wilson was further questioned by committee chair, Neil Parish MP, on the role of retailers in relation to their pigmeat pricing approach.

While acknowledging that “retailers don’t like to discount too rapidly in store” due to market volatility, she said that “they do need to lower prices a bit to stimulate demand” while also focusing on promotions and new product development.

The full committee session is currently (October 29) available on parliamentlive.tv

Access the recording

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