UFU pigs committee discuss current situation with processor Karro

Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

The Ulster Farmers’ Union pigs policy committee have met with senior representatives from the processing company Karro, including the Chief Executive, to discuss a range of issues currently affecting the local pig industry.

UFU Pigs Policy Committee chairman Jonny Cuddy said: “Overall it was a constructive meeting and it was useful for us to have had an open and frank discussion with the representatives from Karro about the current situation facing pig producers including important issues such as: the current NI/GB price differential; the future of the market; and the efficiency of pig producers in Northern Ireland.

“The price differential between NI pig producers and their GB counterparts, for the same Red Tractor standard pigs, continues to be a sore point for our producers. It’s an issue we are still working to see addressed and we want to see the NI pig price more closely linked to the UK price. We also discussed that the UFU would form a pig sub group to discuss the various issues with Karro, Cookstown on a more regular basis.  

“Discussions have already started with BPEX around developing an NI pricing strategy, which would see a proper price reporting system put in place for Northern Ireland, similar to the Standard Pig Price (SPP) which already exists in GB, allowing local producers to have a clearer idea of the average price being paid for pigmeat. This in conjunction with better communication between producers and processors would go a long way in helping to address some of the issues we are currently facing.”

UFU Deputy President Ivor Ferguson, who also attended the meeting, added: “We reminded the Karro representatives that Northern Ireland’s pig producers are among the most efficient within the whole of the EU and are producing pigmeat to the very high Red Tractor standard. It stands to reason that we should be fairly paid for our efforts and the high quality meat we produce. Already there is speculation that here in Northern Ireland prices could fall further, especially as we have seen drops in the GB Standard Pig Price very recently. This is something pig producers here could ill afford and the reason why we need to see urgent action taken to address our concerns.

“Within the next few weeks, we intend to have a similar meeting with representatives from Dunbia in order to further discuss the current issues facing the pig industry here in Northern Ireland.”