THE WA Pork Producers' Association (WAPPA) has spoken out about the value and importance of quality

14 Jun, 2007 07:00 PM

"With export not only underpinning our pork production, but actually driving it in WA, it is ludicrous to suggest WA pig producers don't have an appropriate incentive to have quality assurance (QA)," Mr Dent said.

"Almost 10,000 tonnes of WA pork went to Singapore in 2005-06, up from 67t 10 years ago.

"With eating quality and food safety the key drivers of pork consumption in WA, our industry is best served by supporting best practice management in biosecurity, animal health and welfare and food safety through Australian Pork's certified QA program Australian Pork Industry Quality (APIQ)."

Mr Dent said three quarters of WA's pork production was produced under APIQ and WAPPA was confident 95pc would be by December.

"Animal welfare practices in this program are based on World's Best Practice in animal husbandry," he said.

"WA pigs are among the healthiest in the world, largely due to strict biosecurity controls.

"The majority of pigs in WA are fed grain-based diets, using clean, quality assured WA grain, with diets developed by WA's world leading animal nutritionists such as Bruce Mullan of the Agriculture Department.

"Our industry has a farm-gate value of more than $100 million, while directly and indirectly em-ploying more then 3000 people."

WA was awash with pig farmers more than a decade ago but the industry now has about 230 producers. There has been a drop off in numbers of smaller producers because of a lack of saleyard facilities around the state and the mounting input costs associated with farming, including QA.

To compound the problem, QA producers have been paid the same price for their pigs as non-QA farmers, which has dropped below 285c/kg recently to about 265c/kg; however QA meant the entire pig was processed and exported at a financial benefit to the processor, including the use of offal and pig ears.

Some non-QA producers also used to receive more than 300c/kg from butchers when they sold at the Midland saleyards before its closure.

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