Ham is trot­ting out the door fast at Christ­mas

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY - By ALI TOCKER

Waikato folk are be­ing urged to or­der Christ­mas ham now to avoid dis­ap­point­ment, es­pe­cially if they want New Zealand-reared ham.

The pork in­dus­try body, NZ Pork, is urg­ing peo­ple to or­der hams now from their lo­cal butcher or su­per­mar­ket for pickup or de­liv­ery closer to Christ­mas Day.

‘‘If peo­ple want to be sure about get­ting a good-qual­ity prod­uct, they should act now. If you leave or­der­ing to the week be­fore Christ­mas and want to get a New Zealand ham, you could be dis­ap­pointed,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Owen Sym­mans said.

Fac­tors driv­ing lower sup­ply and higher prices for ham this sea­son in­clude re­duc­ing pig num­bers in New Zealand and overseas.

In the United States and Europe, pig pro­duc­ers were down­siz­ing herds and pro­duc­tion be­cause of ris­ing grain prices – an in­ter­na­tional trend flow­ing from droughts and price spec­u­la­tion.

Do­mes­ti­cally, pig num­bers were re­duc­ing as peo­ple moved out of the in­dus­try, Mr Sym­mans said.

This was a re­sult of stricter an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards be­ing in­tro­duced, pig farm­ers re­tir­ing and the flow-on ef­fects of higher global grain prices.

‘‘As an in­dus­try, we are com­mit­ted to meet­ing the new an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards but some peo­ple have de­cided, with the changes, it’s time for them to move on,’’ he said.

Pig farmer num­bers in New Zealand had dropped about 10 per cent re­cently from the com­bined fac­tors, with an­other 5 per cent de­cline pre­dicted by NZ Pork dur­ing the next 12 months.

NZ Pork is also en­cour­ag­ing Ki­wis to buy New Zealand ham, rather than im­ported.

‘‘Most New Zealand con­sumers would pre­fer to eat New Zealand ham. We en­cour­age peo­ple to look at the la­bel,’’ Mr Sym­mans said.

‘‘Many peo­ple just as­sume the ham in their lo­cal su­per­mar­ket or re­tail out­let is New Zealand-grown, but 45 per cent of pork prod­ucts – in­clud­ing ham and ba­con – come from im­ported prod­ucts.’’

GET IN QUICK: Waikato res­i­dents are be­ing en­cour­aged to buy now to avoid miss­ing out.

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