According to SNIV-SNCP, pork processors registered losses of over Euro100m in 2011, contrasting with the optimism of pig producers, who hailed record prices and strong export demand. The union blamed restrictive contracts that stifle abattoirs with quotas, and warns the whole industry is at risk if processors go bankrupt.
Pork processors said they paid producers an average of Euro1.50/kg in 2011, and that their margins were squeezed by processing costs that were not reflected in retail prices.
“At a time when the economic situation in France is becoming critical for industrial employment, our leaders need to know that the decline of the pork sector is also the result of the guilty passivity of the government,” said the union.
“The worst can still be avoided. To achieve this, we need to accept questioning and start a deep reform of the economic system.”
SNIV-SNCP pointed out that pork production dropped by 5% between 2000 and 2009 in France, while it jumped 23% in Germany, 17% in Spain, 15% in Denmark and 14% in Italy over the same period, and called for a change to protect the country’s competitiveness in the EU.
The union said: “In 2010 alone, pork imports, especially from Spain and Germany, increased by 3.9%. Beyond very cheap raw material, these countries now bring added value and service to the French market, thanks to cheap labour.”