The Financial Times reports that English pork processors are seeking up to £15 million of government support after China halted imports of meat, including trotters and pigs’ heads, from plants experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.
The industry estimates 1 million pig carcasses have been affected by the suspension of some exports to the world’s largest pork market. Chinese consumers relish parts of the pig, such as trotters and heads, that are unpopular in the UK, so selling them to China had helped maintain profitability in the UK’s £1.6 billion pig sector.
Pork processors and farmers have met regularly with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs this year as part of a new forum called the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group. They have discussed pressures on the industry and the potential for financial support.
Farmers are separately seeking £3.2 million to help them deal with the impact of a backlog of pigs on farms because of post-Brexit trade blockages. This has cost them extra money in feed and penalties from processors for animals slaughtered at high weights.