Waitrose pledges support for pig farmers

Waitrose has pledged to provide further support for farmers amid the national pig culling crisis affected by labour shortages and supply overtaking demand.

The retailer has claimed it will be the “only retailer to offer financial support for all our pig farmers” with an emergency support package.

The decision comes during a pig culling crisis in the UK which has seen understaffed abattoirs creating a backlog of healthy pigs.

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As a result, the “biggest crisis in a generation” has seen prices fall impacting the financial sustainability of the sector.

Waitrose has committed to extending its pledge to pay a “fair and sustainable, minimum price for pork” to all of its farmers – regardless of falling prices.

“We need to support our farmers before it’s too late to save their bacon. They kept food on our tables through the pandemic, and we need to help them through their tough times too,” Waitrose senior agriculture manager Jake Pickering said.

“By guaranteeing a base price for pork, we’re protecting farmers for the months ahead and allowing them to plan for a long-term, sustainable future.”

During the pig crisis summit chaired by DEFRA on 10 February, Waitrose detailed its support earning the praise of the National Pig Association (NPA).

“We welcome Waitrose’s continued support of the British pig industry,” NPA Chair and pig producer Rob Mutimer said.

“The commitment made shows that there is a huge amount retailers can do in terms of the price and promotion of British pork; only with their support can we plan for a sustainable future for our industry.”

The retailer also assured its commitment would not affect the “great value for customers”, “price of its products” or its “leading welfare standards”.

Pickering added: “We’re urging other competitors to follow our lead, committing to 100% British pork and supporting farmers when it matters most.”

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