Farmers lobby for 'promotional' £10m pig levy

Suffolk pig farmer Jimmy Butler is pursuing a doubling of the pig farmer levy in order to promote the British pig brand against other labels.

By implementing a voluntary levy, Butler, of Blythburgh Pork, will avoid regulations that forbid pork from being promoted as British by farmers and processors.

Butler represents the Eastern Region on the NPA Producer Group, and recently spoke to members in order to gauge support for £10m in funding to pursue advertising and marketing of British pork, and address what he sees as an awareness gap.

"The farmers in the region were broadly in favour," says Butler. "This levy has to be industry-based for it to work, and we're gaining more and more support. If enough people come on board, we can go ahead with it.

"Bpex has done a great job, but they have a limited amount of funding, and a small percentage goes towards marketing. People just do not know what British pork offers," Butler added.

"We're looking for branding like Danish bacon. That has really strong awareness. Sales of British pork are going down, while all the others are on the up. Something has to change."

A spokesperson for Bpex said: "It's a very interesting suggestion, and one that deserves careful consideration. We shall be giving it precisely that."

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