The government has provided a boost to the UK’s pig sector by committing to regulate pig contracts to support the supply chain and provide greater certainty across the whole sector.
These new regulations will help to bring stability and security to the pig supply chain, strengthening the sector’s ability to deal with the challenges currently being faced around the world, such as rising costs and labour shortages caused by global pressures.
The move follows a public consultation last year, which received nearly 400 responses from producers, processors and others in the supply chain. It revealed popular sentiment in the sector that legally required written contracts would remove uncertainty and ambiguity, with the majority of respondents supporting the governments approach to implement this through legislation.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:
“The pig sector has faced unprecedented challenges over the last year, with rising costs and global labour shortages putting real pressure on producers and processors.
“We are committed to working with the sector, and the regulations set to be introduced will ensure fairness and transparency across the supply chain – from pig to pork to plate – to help the sector to thrive in the future.”
The regulations will be developed using the regulation-making power in section 29 of the Agriculture Act 2020, with further engagement with industry to ensure that they meet the needs of the sector and properly address the challenges the sector faces.
As well as regulation on written contracts, the government will develop regulations to collect and share more supply chain data, particularly in relation to wholesale price transparency and national slaughter numbers. Increasing the availability of this sort of data within the supply chain will help market reporting services be more reflective of the entire UK market, and will therefore help to further reduce ambiguity for all within the supply chain.
The consultation has also revealed pig producers’ concerns about market consolidation in the processing sector, and the impact this has had on producers. In response to this, the government will be sharing the consultation’s findings relating to the alleged negative consequences of market consolidation with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).