AHDB’s chairman Nicholas Saphir will write to Defra Ministers formally seeking permission for a one-month pork levy holiday to support producers reduce the pig backlog.
The plan for a levy holiday was announced by AHDB Pork Board chairman Mike Sheldon at last week’s Pigs Tomorrow conference, prior to sign off by the Pork Board, and but was confirmed this week following discussion among the board.
He said the move would be worth approximately £800,000 to the industry, which he said would go a significant way towards sending pigs to slaughter at a loss to ease the backlog, which he said appeared to be the best option available.
The proposal, which will require Ministerial approval, has been welcomed by some within the industry as a positive sign of support from AHDB, but criticised by others for not going far enough.
Mr Sheldon said: “With the unprecedented challenges being placed on the pork sector, AHDB is working with industry and government to identify ways in which we can work together to help levy-payers during these difficult times.
“These challenges, in particular a shortage of skilled workers, come on top of pressure on margins largely due to rising feed costs. These issues are extremely concerning and therefore require industry-wide action to prevent the situation deteriorating into an animal welfare issue.
“AHDB is already undertaking work to help the sector, including providing independent evidence to Government setting out the seriousness of the situation, and looking at how together we can support meat processors to ease the supply of labour.
“As well, AHDB’s wider approach has resulted in the AHDB Pork Board agreeing to a one-month levy holiday to help ease the burden of the financial pressures faced by levy-payers. A letter seeking Ministerial approval for this step is being sent from chairman Nicholas Saphir.”