New report highlights the potential of the Welsh pig industry

Apr 10 2013

A new report says greater cooperation among stakeholders in the Welsh pig industry could lead to savings and growth in the pork sector.

In 2012, Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) commissioned a survey of stakeholders in the Welsh pig industry to find out how the industry has changed over the last decade.

The review found that the shape of the industry has changed considerably since the turn of the century with production shifting from large scale enterprises to smaller herds.

This change has seen the total number of pigs in Wales drop from over 62,000 in 2000 to just over 25,000 last year.

John Richards, HCC’s Industry and Market Information Officer, said: “The pig industry in Wales has shrunk due to a number of factors including the rising cost of production and intense competition from cheaper pork imports, unfortunately this has led to many producers leaving the sector while many other are  considering their future.

“Feed costs are continuing to rise for pig farmers, who rely heavily on purchased concentrates. Pig farmers in Wales and much of the UK also have to contend with a  higher cost of production than other countries in the EU which puts them at a financial disadvantage.”

Following interviews with stakeholders, the report found that there is interest from the major retailers in the UK for sourcing pork from Welsh breeds but due to most farms holding smaller herds, there is not currently sufficient supply.

“The report recommends that greater cooperation between smaller producers could help to fulfil this demand. It also points out that groups of farmers could come together to purchase by-products from the dairy industry, such as whey, to offset the rising costs of wheat and soya feed” added Mr Richards.

HCC also commissioned the report to gather data that could be used as part of an application to gain protected name status for Welsh Pork.
The report found that there was enthusiasm among stakeholders for gaining Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, the EU designation which has already been granted to Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.

Philippa Gill, HCC’s Brand Marketing Officer, said: “The report estimates that the Welsh pig industry contributes around £6 million to agricultural output in Wales. However spending on pork products in Wales last year totalled £217 million, so there is potentially a huge market for Welsh producers.

“We are currently in the process of applying for protected name status for Welsh Pork but it may be some time before the process is complete.

“In the meantime, HCC will continue to support the pork industry in Wales through the creation of promotional material such as posters and recipe leaflets and online activity.”

The full review can be downloaded from the HCC website at the following address:

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