7th December 2016 Debra

New UK Pork Strategy Aims to Close the Productivity Gap

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Closing the productivity gap between English and EU pig producers and a new focus on pork as a midweek meal solution are two underpinning themes of AHDB Pork’s three year strategy published for consultation today (1 December).

The vision of AHDB’s new ‘Inspiring Success’ corporate strategy is ‘creating a world-class food and farming industry’. It has also redefined AHDB’s purpose as ‘inspiring farmers, growers and the industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world’.

The 2017–2020 AHDB Pork Strategy builds on work delivered under AHDB Pork’s current ‘Going for Growth’ programme and its successful Pulled Pork Campaign. In the run up to Brexit, the strategy outlines proposals to build on market intelligence horizon scanning, market analysis and export work to prepare and position the sector for a post Brexit world.

Meryl Ward, AHDB Pork Chair said: “The AHDB Pork strategy is clearly focused on where the levy can add best value collectively for levy payers, with smarter working in conjunction with industry partners, funding groups and research consortia and tapping into the cross sector expertise in AHDB. Data collection and management will be critical to benchmarking and measuring progress.”

Mrs Ward added: “Our new strategy looks at how we can make best use of the €2 million funding for the Pig Innovation Group funding being co-ordinated through AHDB. This will enable us to learn best practice and adopt the brightest ideas from Europe.

“The new Agritech Centre of Innovation and Excellence for Livestock (CIEL) is an opportunity to focus industry R&D priorities, recognising the substantial differences between the English and EU industries. These new collaborative partnerships should capture opportunities to improve our competiveness and resilience in the face of price-based competition in a post Brexit market.

“We will also look at introducing a new skills framework to bring together existing fragmented training schemes to ensure the industry attracts and retains the best staff, recognising that good stockmanship combined with excellent business management is a key component of farm business success.”

The strategy also proposes further development of pig health surveillance work both on-farm and at abattoir to enhance both pig health and welfare and food safety.”

Differentiated British pork has received good support from many retailers. However, pricing mechanisms for pig producers could be improved driven by research into carcase classification methods and quality measures. This would help translate improved communication of consumer demands through the supply chain and more efficient supply chain working.

Faced with a longer term decline in retail fresh sales, the strategy continues a focus on increasing consumption with a target of younger consumers. This concentrates on positioning pork as a versatile meal solution, rather than a species alternative to other meats. An increase in domestic marketing spend of £1 million is proposed to achieve this, weighted towards the first year of the strategy.

Mrs Ward added: “Research also shows consumers value origin and ethics after price and appearance when considering meat, so AHDB Pork will continue to defend and promote the image and uniqueness of English pig farming on topics such as production systems and antibiotic use. We will also develop the collection and communication of Real Welfare assessment data further building the industry’s reputation for high welfare across all production systems.”

The three year strategy also proposes to include AHDB Pork education activity within the cross sector AHDB education programme, helping to reduce duplication of effort and funding.

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