Farmers call for Tesco to do more to support pig producers
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is echoing calls made by the National Pig Association (NPA), reinforcing the need for Tesco to do more to support pig producers who are struggling to manage skyrocketing input costs daily.
The alternative will see Northern Ireland’s (NI) pork industry being completely wiped out as producers cannot survive the inflation much longer, the UFU said.
UFU pork and bacon chair Glenn Cuddy said: “Over the past number of weeks and months, we’ve been engaging with all processors and retailers in a bid to get the prices paid to pig producers closer to the costs of production. Most recently, we met with Tesco who unlike the other retailers, were unable to discuss any plans they have to support our members through the most difficult period of trading ever endured. All we want is a fair price for the high-quality pork products our members produce, in a bid to sustain individual pork businesses across NI and the entire sector.
“The pressure on pig producers has been building over the past eighteen months for reasons beyond their control and supermarkets must step in. As primary producers they can’t manage soaring production costs alone, they’re about to go out of business.”
It was recently reported that Tesco profits had trebled last year, citing its “meaningful negotiating power” with their suppliers as a reason. It must not be dismissed that pig producers provide the critical foundation which the supermarket depends on.
“We urge Tesco to remember that they’ll only be able to continue exercising this ‘meaningful negotiating power’ whilst our members continue to produce pigs. The security of food supply including pork, should be at the forefront of all business decisions and one such decision that needs to be made urgently is a critically required investment to support pig producers. Tesco’s large UK market share combined with the volume of pork sales puts the supermarket in a comfortable position to do this. It will help ensure that local pork products continue to be produced to world leading standards, remaining on shop shelves for consumers,” Mr Cuddy said.
“We’re conscious of the increasing cost of living but products will remain affordable for consumers while also preventing the demise of the sector which would be a massive loss for them too. They expect and value our high-quality pork products not just now but in the future. An injection of a modest portion of financial support into the supply chain will benefit everyone, ensuring all within the agri-food supply chain comes out the other side.”
When a crisis hits, Tesco is renowned for offering help to those in need and the UFU stresses the need for support locally.
“Time is running out fast for our local pig producers and it’s extremely hard to swallow when one of the biggest retailers whom they supply has the ability to ease the pressure that they’re crumbling under but instead, continues to sit on the sidelines. Tesco needs to act immediately along with all supermarkets, taking meaningful steps toward safeguarding our local Red Tractor pork industry now and for years to come,” said Mr Cuddy.