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Will this little piggy stay at home

All the leading organisations within the Danish pig industry signed an agreement at the recent annual Pig Congress at Herning, calling on the government to introduce measures to help boost production of finished pigs in Denmark and reduce the export of weaners to Germany and other EU countries, thereby adding DKK 3 billion to exports and securing an additional 2,800 jobs in the country.

In recent years, the export of weaners from Denmark has grown to nearly nine million pigs per year, from just one million a decade ago. These exports have primarily gone to the German market, where the government has pursued policies to promote the production of finished pigs, with all the positive benefits for the local economy. German farmers benefit from a number of policy initiatives, which places them at a significant advantage to Danish producers and this has distorted competition between the countries. These include significant subsidies for production of biogas and solar energy as well as preferential tax treatment.

The so called ‘Herning Declaration’ was signed by the Chairmen of the Danish Pig Research Centre, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, the two co-operative slaughterhouses, Danish Crown and Tican as well as all the local pig production committees. The Danish Food and Allied Workers Union (NNF) also signed the declaration. It calls for action in three areas to improve the competitive position of the Danish pig industry, leading to an additional two million pigs per annum available for slaughter in Denmark.

It urges the government to enhance the overall market framework for pig producers in Denmark by reviewing the current environmental legislation in Denmark, rigidly linking livestock numbers to land available for slurry disposal, the taxes on energy use by industry, the charges for waste water treatment and out dated and costly meat inspection charges.

It also urges the government to consider ways of supporting the development of new technically advanced pig finishing facilities to replace some of the older less efficient units, which will increase production but also deliver environmental benefits.

The industry itself will set in motion various initiatives with the aim of raising the productivity of the third least efficient producers, through short or long term advisory programmes.

The proposed measures could boost the production of finished pigs in Denmark by 2 million head and provide a fresh impetus for economic growth and exports, worth DKK 3 billion, as well as securing additional employment for 2,800 persons.