Pork keeps flooding in

31 Dec, 2003 10:00 PM
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PORK import volumes to Australia during October and November were the highest on record.

Australian Pork Limited (APL) figures showed a pork import volume of 5991t (slaughter weight) for October, which was 10pc higher than the previous top in March 2003 and was valued at $22.3 million.

Imports for November were 5521t for a value of $20.4m.

Low import levels in August and September had given hope to WA pork producers suffering low sale prices as a result of the cheap foreign meat coming into Australia.

The majority of the increased October imports came from Denmark, with this year's volumes four times greater than in the same month last year.

Canada regained its position in November as the principal source of Australian pork imports, due to the increased demand for its leg hams for Christmas.

WA Pork Producers Association executive officer David McFerran said the effect of the strong Australian dollar had to be acknowledged.

"Processors are going to be able to import more product and put more pressure on our locally grown product," he said.

"The question we've got to ask of the processors is, do they want to see a sustainable pigmeat industry in WA? When they buy imports over domestic product, they need to take that into account."

He said the dollar was also seriously affecting the level of WA pork exports.

APL figures showed the total Australian export volume for October was the lowest since 2001 at 4668t in volume and $15.7m in value.

"If any of that export product comes back onto the domestic market, we are going to have some real problems with price," he said.

A Federal Senate committee will investigate this year's Pig Meat Import Risk Assessment due to serious concerns from producers and processors.

The report describes procedures to identify and assess quarantine risks from imports to Australia and recommends measures to address those risks.

The Federal Labor Party referred the report to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport committee.

Questions had been raised about its risk assessment methodology and its proposed management strategies for key diseases Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, and Post-weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome.

The committee will inquire into the administration of the report's author, Biosecurity Australia.

COMMENTS

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