Defra has confirmed it intends to introduce new regulations governing pig contracts in parliament next year.
In May, the Department confirmed it will proceed with developing regulations to bring about fairness in the pig supply chain, following a consultation that received more 370 responses from across the supply chain.
Using powers in section 29 of the Agriculture Act 2020, new regulations will ensure written agreements are used between all producers and their buyers. The Department said it would work closely with the industry to explore what other provisions, if any, should be mandated as part of these agreements.
It will also develop regulations to collect and disseminate more supply chain data, particularly in relation to wholesale price transparency and national slaughter numbers, again using the powers under the Agriculture Act in England and working with the devolved administrations.
At last week’s Back British Farming Day event in Downing Street, Defra Secretary Therese Conffey said regulations aimed at bringing about fairness in the dairy supply chain will be introduced to Parliament before the end of the year, subject to procedural legal checks and the Parliamentary process.
The dairy regulations are further down the line than the equivalent pig supply chain process, but Defra confirmed it was committed to developing regulations for the UK pig sector and ‘intends to have regulations ready to be introduced to Parliament during 2024’.
The forthcoming General Election, due to take place next year, could complicate the timetable. The industry is keen to for the process to be wrapped up by then. NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson sought clarity on the timing on the pig supply legislation from Farming Minister Mark Spencer when she attended the summit.
“We were pleased to be invited to Downing Street for the second time this year. While it would be pushing it to say the event included detailed policy discussions, this was another opportunity to stress our desire at the highest level to ensure the contractual review process is treated as a priority within Government and to press for clarity on the timings,” she said.