Supermarket giant Tesco has announced it will increase payments to pig farmers by £6.6m, as the industry faces price hikes for wheat and soya.
Total support for Tesco farmers will stand at £10m since March, as the farming sector faces staggering commodity price inflation.
Feed prices have shot up since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, while the pandemic and a Brexit-triggered labour crunch have also wounded the pig sector.
Earlier this month, chairman of the National Pig Association (NPA), Rob Mutimer implored Tesco CEO Ken Murphy to aid the sector as UK farmers were “battling for their very survival.”
The industry body’s data suggested that there were some 100,000 pigs stuck on farms that should have gone to slaughter, with farmers losing more than £50 per pig due to an “enormous gap between their cost of production and the price the supply chain is paying for pork.”
The supermarket said on Monday it had pledged to review pricing on a more frequent basis, due to market volatility.
“We fully recognise the seriousness of the situation UK pig farmers are facing and have been working closely with our suppliers to understand what more we can do to support the sector,” Tesco Fresh commercial director, Dominic Morrey said:
He added: “We know there is more to do, and we will be working with suppliers, farmers and the wider industry to drive more transparency and sustainability across our supply chains and support the future of the British pig industry.”
Mutimer said he was pleased with the announcement of “some much-needed extra financial support for the pig industry,” The Guardian reported.
Farmers were facing “unprecedented costs of production” given the macroeconomic environment, the NPA chair added.
He added: “We look forward to seeing the pig price rising very soon as a result of this action and hopefully we can begin to stem the flow of producers exiting the industry.”