Fiji Sun - - BUSINESS - Feed­back: maraia.vula@fi­jisun. com.fj

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.

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