Thursday, 15 May 2008

A right pig's ear

Following on from Lea's last post, this is how bad things have got for pig farmers. I don't know if you've seen the above poster recently, or even been compelled to visit their site, but the situation these guys are in is awful. Many of the farmers have been struggling on because the farm is their inheritance. Their great grandfather started pig farming over a century ago and if they quit they will be letting several generations down. But how can they continue when they're losing money on every pig they sell?

The farmers are in this situation because the price of grain has more than doubled in the past year. And yet the supermarkets are keeping the pressure on the farmers to keep prices down while they still make a healthy margin.

I don't see how this situation can continue. Are we going to lose our agricultural industry in the same way as we lost manufacturing? And what can we do about it? Is this our government's responsibility or do we need a different approach?


Sam said...

Well for a start they need a new ad agency. While the poster is clever it doesn't exactly scream "read me now!" much less, do anything about it.

The thing about this, is that its not just the little piggies that are having trouble at the market. The price of grain affects so many products, the supermarkets can't absorb all of them so they'll have to be passed on to the consumer. Food shopping bills will go through the roof.

That said, I do agree with you that something that should be done to ease the pain for a specific group when they're at a crisis point. And farming is so much a part of what it means to be British, its part of our culture. So I think we need to speak to David Cameron, he's got an election coming up and he's ever so keen to win it. Or if not perhaps Boris? Not strictly his department but he does seem very energetic at the moment...

Dave Birss said...

Absolutely. It's not the supermarkets' sole responsibility to shoulder the added cost. It should be shared between every part of the chain from the grain suppliers through to the end consumer. It's just a bit disgusting that the supermarkets have got the power to negotiate the price down so low that the farmers make a loss.

I'd love to see some politician brave enough to tackle the issue and prevent us from losing our pig farming industry.