• Funds to focus on three priorities
• Marketing, exports and reputation
• Pig Health Scheme comes to end
Industry leaders say a reduction in pork-related spending by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is understandable given funding constraints.
A five year plan covering the years 2022 to 2027 was unveiled by the AHDB last month. The levy body expects its funding for pork to fall from £10m to £8m – mainly due to reduced levy income following the contraction of the sector.
A change in the AHDB’s VAT status will also contribute to the fall in funding. The strategy says expenditure will be divided between three priority areas, with marketing allocated 40%, exports 33% and reputation 27%.
Export promotion will focus on identifying lucrative markets and optimising access for all cuts. For example, while whole muscle can be exported to Mexico, extending that to include offal would give even greater benefit.
The marketing spend will aim to inspire shoppers to choose pork for both home cooking and eating out.
It comes amid an ongoing debate over restrictions on promoting ‘British’ pork, and the AHDB’s Feed the Family for Less campaign.
Priorities for spending follow the AHDB’s 18-month-long Shape the Future initiative, which gave levy payers across all sectors the chance to tell the AHDB what it should focus on over the next five years.
Existing AHDB initiatives which will no longer be funded include the Pig Health Scheme, the Real Welfare programmes and the employment tool Pig Pro. Instead, the AHDB will prioritise marketing, exports and reputational work.
AHDB pork sector council chair Mike Sheldon said: “It is vital for the levy to deliver the very best value.
“In May 2022, producers and processors representing over half of all pigs farmed and three-quarters of those processed, told us how they wanted their levy spent via AHDB’s Shape the Future vote.
“This turnout was an absolute credit to an industry that was under enormous strain at the time. It is symptomatic of the true grit, hope and determination that we need for the future.
“In the Shape the Future vote, you gave clear messages that your sector council has taken on board to direct the work of AHDB over the next five years.”
National Pig Association chief executive Lizzie Wilson said the NPA would continue to support the AHDB’s work. “This looks like a sensible approach, given the constraints on levy funding AHDB will face in the future.
“We broadly agree with the priorities identified – export development is key to our ability to maximise the value of the carcase and the AHDB has an important role in maintaining the industry’s reputation.
“The domestic market is also hugely important and it is essential that this work continue to be focused on effective promotion of British product. Of course, it is disappointing that funding in some areas is ceasing, but we understand the reasons for this.”