PIG INDUSTRY DOWNSIZES WITH NEW THREAT OF IMPORTED AUSSIE PORK
The President of the Fiji Pig Association, Simon Cole, has expressed concern, over the the announcement that two of the country’s three major pork producers are reducing their output by 40 per cent.
“This is a significant blow that could not come at a worse time.
“It reflects the damage caused by the pandemic that has temporarily killed our tourism industry, 60 per cent of the market for pork sales.
“We are now facing an additional threat to this previously robust but now fragile industry, the import of pork from Australia at a price to Fiji that is lower than what is sold in Australia,” he said. Mr Cole said the association’s concern was that the only people who would benefit from importing Australian-bred pork was the Australian pig industry.
Mr Cole said Australian pork lands in Fiji at $7 a kilo. “With the importer making his profit, the price could increase by an additional 20 per cent, or $8.40 at retail.”
The local pork currently retails at between $8 and $9 a kilo.
Mr Cole said: “So where is the benefit to the consumer?
“These Australian pork imports are disrupting the market and interfering with our industry’s efforts to return towards normality. “This must be addressed. “Association members are selling carcass pork at $7 a kilo at farm gate, a significantly reduced price that reflects the loss of the tourism market and a contraction of the consumer purchasing power.
“The retail price for pork has fallen by 50 per cent in most cases as butchers strive to find new outlets for their pork.
“We hope the Australian industry, that has its own problems with its own traditional markets, is not simply exporting its problem to Fiji.
“This has happened before.”
Mr Cole said food security was taking on an even greater meaning with the pandemic.
“We must do all we can to ensure the nation can continue to feed itself and have a competitive industry once normality returns.
“Questionable outside activities that threaten our food supply must be scrutinised.”
Mr Cole is also Chairman of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council of which the Fiji Pig Association is a member.