The National Pig Association (NPA) has warned that the sector is on the brink of an “industry meltdown.”
The association is currently demanding that the government should extend its Covid Recovery Visa scheme to the pig industry after news broke this week that 5500 poultry workers and around 5000 HGV drivers have been hired across the UK through the Temporary Workers initiative.
According to the NPA, the industry is dealing with a backlog of 100,000 pigs, and the group is warning that British farms and processors are “rapidly reaching capacity”.
It has also called for retailers to prioritise UK pigs in processing plants over EU imports in order to clear the backlog and “ensure the financial burden is shared equally across the supply chain.”
The industry body said that multiple farmers have left the sector in recent months and many farmers are being forced to reduce their herd sizes.
The association warns that it needs migrant workers urgently if it is to avoid an “environmental disaster.”
“We were extremely disappointed that the Government has ignored repeated requests for temporary visas for butchers, despite the overwhelming evidence of the impact this is having across the supply chain,” NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said.
“We desperately need those visas, even for a short period of time to help us get rid of the backlog.
“We are facing the long-term decline of British pig production and we need the Government to wake up to this now.”