Pig supply chain leaders have taken the first step towards the development of a new strategy to guide the industry through the next decade, including the Brexit process, through their participation in an all-interests “summit meeting” in London this week.
Led by the National Pig Association (NPA), the meeting was attended by representatives from Government, retailers, processors and pig producers, all with the aim of putting essential “building blocks” in place to enable a new industry strategy to be drawn up.
Key themes emerging from the day-long debate, included:
- The need for the pig industry to speak with one voice on the big Brexit issues, including new trade arrangements, a future domestic farm policy, regulation, access to labour and labelling
- A desire for the entire supply chain to be more responsive to consumer needs, as the UK pig sector competes with both imports and other meat categories.
- Calls for the lead for this to come from supermarkets, for example, with the development of a new pricing mechanism that reflects consumer demands more accurately than the current grading mechanism
- The need for concerted action to address pigmeat eating quality and consistency issues
- Calls for the Defra Animal Health and Welfare Scheme to help facilitate investment in housing and equipment on farms to address pig health and welfare, partly in the context of the drive to reduce antibiotics. The industry needs to explore opportunities in the redrafting of post-CAP domestic agricultural policies
- The need for a wider debate on how the industry derives maximum benefit from the Red Tractor Scheme, including the extent to which efforts should be made to raise scheme standards.
“The challenge for us now is to put this all together in the form of a coherent strategy that will provide a solid basis for future discussions and policy debate,” said NPA chairman Richard Lister (pictured above), adding that the summit had provided food for thought across the supply chain and within Government concerning the “big issues” currently facing the sector.