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Pork on the up but…

28 January 2008

Pork on the up but…

New Zealanders consumed a record 21.4kg of pork per capita last year according to the Board’s recently released Annual Report for the Year Ending 30 September 2007. This represents an increase of 0.8kg over the previous year. “New Zealanders appetite for pork, bacon and ham continues to grow, which is good news” says Board Chairman Chris Trengrove.

However New Zealand pork producers have been unable to benefit from this increasing demand. The reason, they are being squeezed between increasing costs and decreasing returns. “The most pressing issue is increasing feed costs driven by global demand for grain resulting from biofuel production and difficult climatic conditions, particularly drought in Australia”.

“Producers are facing dramatic feed price rises this coming season and we’re not yet sure where they’ll end up” says Trengrove. “This is on top of significant protein input prices and general costs such as wages, fuel and freight rising at more than 5% per year”.

Trengrove notes in his review that while domestic product continues to dominate the fresh meat sector, imports, predominantly destined for the process sector have continued to grow reaching 45% in the 2007 year. “There is no doubt that competition from cheap imports, is affecting producer returns and this has prompted the Board to develop initiatives that strongly differentiate New Zealand grown pork, bacon and ham”.

Trengrove says that “New Zealanders are waking up to the fact that every week around 800,000kgs of pork is imported into New Zealand and they definitely want to know that they’re getting 100% New Zealand pork, bacon and ham”. We are in the process of launching new 100% New Zealand pork, bacon and ham labeling and have had an overwhelmingly positive response from retailers and consumers. Producers need a lift in price soon and were hoping the increased demand created through our advertising and promotion will facilitate this.”

Trengrove also devotes time to the industry’s battles on the biosecurity front. “Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ) has proposed loosening Import Health Standards on imported pork. Robust consideration of the science tells us that if these sanitary measures are relaxed that it is almost certain that the New Zealand pork industry will get the PRRS virus. While there are no human health implications, the consequences from an animal health and welfare perspective are devastating” says Trengrove.

“If it comes here we’ll see producers go out of business. Both consumers and other industries have supported our stance and we can only hope that BNZ will see sense, we’ll continue to fight its illogical stance.

The New Zealand pork industry contributes over $1 billion to the economy annually and it would be nice to think we have our own government supporting us in lifting that contribution” says Trengrove.

ENDS

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