French pork woes continue with sharp falls in exports and prices

French pork exports during the first half of this year were 10% down on the same period in 2014 while prices declined by 15%, according to new figures which highlight the extent of the country’s continuing pig industry crisis.

A market report from AHDB Pork shows French pork exports having totalled 208,800 tonnes from January to June this year, 23,800 tonnes less than in the first half of 2014. This included a 15% decline in exports to the UK with rising prices in France, driven by French government action, clearly having an impact on sales at home and abroad.

“French pig prices have increased more than most others in the EU this year,” said AHDB Pork, adding that this was partly because the French government has imposed a target price of €1.40 a kg (£1/kg) in response to recent farmer protests.

“However, last week two of the largest processors boycotted the Breton pigmeat auction, saying that the price was too high and made them uncompetitive against imported pork. This led to the auction, which sets a price that is generally followed for the rest of the pigs sold in France, being cancelled.

“Talks are underway to try and resolve the situation.”

On the import front, the French market took 1% less pigmeat during the first half of 2015 than in the same period last year, with Spain remaining as the largest supplier of pork into France.

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