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Pigs: Livestock Industry

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL155, tabled on 11 May 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current state of the livestock industry, and in particular the pig sector.

Answered on

25 May 2022

The supply chain inflation seen in the livestock sector in recent months, driven significantly by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the consequential increase in costs for feed, fuel and fertilisers, has created challenges across this sector and the wider food and farming industry.

We have recognised that increasing input costs, particularly fertiliser, feed, fuel and energy, are creating short term pressures on cash flow. On 6 May, we announced that we are to bring forward half of this year’s BPS payment as an advance injection of cash to farm businesses to help provide confidence.

This builds on measures we recently announced to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season to help address uncertainty among growers and keep costs down for farmers. These include delays to changes to the use of urea; revised and improved statutory guidance on the use of slurry; and the publication of further details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive. The Government has announced that it will pay farmers to help with the costs of sowing nitrogen fixing plants and green manures to reduce dependence on manufactured fertilisers, and that farmers will be further supported through new slurry storage grants.

We are working closely with the industry to identify where further mitigations are available to tackle the challenges they face. We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We have also increased our engagement with industry to supplement our analysis with real time intelligence.

The pig industry has faced several additional challenges in recent months. We provided a package of measures to help address these including temporary work visas for pork butchers, and Private Storage Aid and Slaughter Incentive Payment schemes to facilitate an increase in the throughput of pigs through abattoirs.

We are launching a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector. We will be engaging with industry on this with a consultation expected later this year. We want to hear from industry about improvements to fairness and transparency that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future.

Although we have recently seen an increase in deadweight pig prices, we will continue to work with the industry to support them at this very challenging time.