of coveted credentials that set it apart from competitors. "We
don't use hormones in our feed, our feed is naturally sourced
and we have access to very good water supply. Our bio-security
would be very strong in Europe and obviously our pigs are lean
as well. These are some of the ways we market are pigmeat."
And, with the integration of a sustainability charter into the quality
assurance scheme in train, this will o er another tool for Irish
producers to use when discussing their portfolio of products to
potential clients. "We have 360 pigmeat producers in the Bord
Bia Quality Assurance Scheme which represents 98 per cent
of production in Ireland. We are currently updating our poultry
standard to include sustainability and pigmeat will follow, and will
probably come into e ect in the first quarter of 2020."
ASF and Peter is keen to stress the scale of this and its impact on
international trade. "Pigmeat production in China was 54m tonnes
in 2018 and by 2020 it is expected to fall by 24m tonnes, back
to 30m tonnes; that would be a 45 per cent decrease in pigmeat
production. If you put that into perspective, Ireland only produces
1.2m tonnes of meat per annum when you include chicken, beef
sheepmeat and pigmeat, so it would take us 20 years to produce
what they are going to lose in two years. It is colossal.
"And you have to look at why our breeding herd is so flat the EU
breeding herd is back 3 per cent in the June livestock herd taken
this year compared June 2018. And prices have been moving
up during this time. So it shows that producers in eastern and
western Europe are very nervous about ASF spreading."
And although Peter suggests that Ireland has a lot to be confident
about in relation to our high biosecurity standards that prevent
the disease from entering pig units, he impresses the need to be
communicate to potential
customers, at trade
shows, etc, that they
should feel confident
about sourcing pigmeat
form Ireland because we
are an island nation and
we also don't have any
wild boars, which are a
big problem for other
European countries as
regards the spread of ASF.
From a security point of
view, as an island it should
be more di cult for ASF
to enter the country. But
that is not to say that it
can't; it could come in
through a food product,
something very simple.
ASF is in a number of
Eastern EU member
States, so it is knocking on
the door really."