Latest price increase an 'insult' to UK pig producers, group says

The 'meagre' prices come at a time when the global pork market is buoyant
The 'meagre' prices come at a time when the global pork market is buoyant

The National Pig Association has called the latest pig price increase an 'insult' to the industry as it continues to 'lose millions'.

The group has calculated that British pig producers are still losing millions of pounds each month due to the 'failure' of UK pig prices to move in line with clear global trends.

AHDB’s most recent update showed the EU-spec SPP rose 1.51p to average 144.45p/kg last week, an increase the NPA calls 'meagre'.

It says that British farmers are not receiving 'anywhere near' the returns given current Asia-driven global market dynamics.

The UK's competitors are enjoying increased prices on the back of soaring Chinese demand as the world's biggest pig producer comes to grips with the African swine fever (ASF) crisis.

The price paid to British producers remains just under 3.5p below last year’s level and still behind EU prices, which have surged by more than 30p/kg since early February, while UK prices have gained just 6p.

Although the headline gap between EU and UK prices is currently around 2.6p/kg, the actual gap is much bigger, according to the NPA.

Calculations by the group suggests that UK producers have been losing out on well over £1m a week between mid-April and mid-May. This adds up to more than £8m over the five-week period.

And with 15p added to cover the usual UK premium, the weekly losses range from £2m to in excess of £3m per week, with total losses over five weeks exceeding £13m.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “These figures highlight the extent to which UK producers are losing out because of the actions of UK processors. We are talking about losses in the region £8m to £13m over just five weeks, which is totally unacceptable.

“We do not believe the huge differential between UK and EU prices is justified and want to see far more significant increases in the coming weeks.”

Speaking at last week’s Pigs Tomorrow conference, UK pork producer group Tulip blamed the slow rate of price rises on processors putting too much pigmeat into storage in the early part of this year due to Brexit stockpiling, along with weak demand.