Pig farmers ‘pessimistic’

Pig producers are not looking at the future with confidence, though others in the supply chain have a more optimistic view, a survey has found.

The annual BPEX Confidence Survey, sent out to 630 people, is based on a number of factors, including attitude towards capital investment and perceptions of relative competitiveness with EU businesses.

The results revealed producers were uncertain over profitability and price volatility in the past year was deterring them from making investment in their business other than for replacement or to increase efficiency.

Little investment being made to increase the size and throughput of businesses, it found.

The competitive outlook for the next 12 months is more optimistic with an increase in the proportion of people who felt their business would become more competitive in 2012.

BPEX Head of Communications Andrew Knowles said: “The industry has been going through a difficult time, producers are continuing to tread water waiting for evidence from supply chain partners of stability and direction which will give them the confidence to invest for the future and grow their businesses.

“It is good to see the overall view is the competitive outlook is more optimistic which is probably tied in to the forthcoming EU partial ban on stalls which will go some way towards creating a more level playing field for the UK and its major European competitors. But the industry must not be distracted by changes in EU welfare legislation and continue to address the fundamental gap that exists in terms of physical performance between UK and EU average performance.”

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The survey also looked at the quality of BPEX services and whether they were what was required.

In total, BPEX services were used by 75% of respondents over the past 12 months showing that the organisation is reaching out to a wide audience across the different sectors.

When looking at specific sectors, the producer category has increased their use of BPEX services, increasing from 71% in 2011 to 76% in 2012.

Satisfaction with BPEX services remains high with 83% of customers rating services as excellent or very good.

Andrew Knowles said: “We have worked hard to try to ensure BPEX services are commercially relevant to our customers and their business and the feedback is encouraging.

“We still have lots more work to do in this area and the recently published Directory of Services is another way for our customers to understand how we can help them.”