£100m body blow for UK pig producers

The pig industry has lost over £100m since launching its campaign in September last year to raise the price farmers receive for their pigs - that is equivalent to £6 every second.

While retail prices for pork in the four major multiple supermarket groups increased by as much as 39p/kg between August 2007 and February 2008, farmers have received an average increase of just 1.5p/kg.

BPEX chairman Stewart Houston said recently: "We have reached crisis point - the industry has already lost £100m. Without an increase, farmers potentially stand to lose another £100m in the coming months and many face the prospect of going out of business. Consumers will then lose the choice to buy higher-welfare Quality Standard Mark (QSM) pork, bacon and ham. Two-thirds of all imports would be illegal to produce in the UK, as they don't meet our welfare standards."

Richard Longthorp, a pig farmer from Howden in Yorkshire, echoed the sentiments of pig farmers across the country. He said: "We don't want any special treatment. All we are asking for is a fairer share. Feed represents around 50% of our costs and this has gone up massively. This is an anomaly - prices are going up, but we're not getting a share of it. If things don't change we'll see a lot of farmers going out of business."