September 25, 2012
Global Pork Shortage Unavoidable In 2013 Due To Record Drought And Heat
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
If you love bacon with your eggs; if you worship your ham salad; if you go gaga for pork and beans; then you better fill up while you can--a British pork group is warning that there will be an “unavoidable” worldwide shortage of pork and bacon next year.
Britain´s National Pig Association (NPA) said the shortage will be due to long-lived and widespread drought conditions that dried up corn and soybean crops this year. These conditions led to a decrease in food supply for livestock, which in turn led to a decline in herds across the European Union “at a significant rate,” the industry said.
Of course this shortage could still be avoided if supermarkets band together and pay pig farmers a fair price to help keep production going. Otherwise, consumers will be left paying steep prices for limited pork product.
Data shows that the EU pig industry´s decline is being mirrored around the world. In the US, extreme drought and heat has left much of the agriculture industry in ruin, and farms have been left to seek out alternatives just to stay afloat--including one farmer from Kentucky who fed candy to his cattle “just to survive.”
In the EU, all main pig-producing countries have reported shrinking sow herds. In the past year (June 2011-2012), significant falling numbers have been reported in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and Poland; Poland has had the sharpest decline.
“British supermarkets know they have to raise the price they pay Britain's pig farmers or risk empty spaces on their shelves next year,” said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. “But competition is so fierce in the high street at present, each is waiting for the other to move first.”
The NPA, spearheading the Save Our Bacon campaign, is asking consumers to buy pork under the British independent Red Tractor logo, as an increase in demand for British product may help persuade supermarkets to act quickly.
One grocer, Sainsbury´s, has raised the price it pays to a few of its pork suppliers, but more is needed to save the industry for the upcoming year.
Mick Sloyan, an executive for the British Pig Association (BPA), warned retailers at a Brussels summit yesterday that a fall of only 2 percent in pig slaughters next year would lead to an increase of pork prices by 10 percent.
The NPA believes slaughtering could fall by as much as 10 percent next year, which could double pork prices. Yet, the NPA said supermarkets can avoid this price hike if they act now.
Los Angeles Times reports that pork supply has soared to a record in the last month. USDA data show that the supply has risen 31 percent in August over the previous year. The surge came as farmers scaled down their herds as feeding animals became increasingly expensive.