February 4, 2019
Australia consumers urged to buy more locally produced pork
Australia's pork producers, prompted by weak market conditions, have appealed to the country's consumers to buy locally produced pork.
The development comes as more than 100 people have lost their jobs at a Port Wakefield abattoir managed by JBS Australia. The company reduced its daily shifts and let go 36 permanent workers and 66 labour hire staff in response to current "supply and market conditions, according to the company's spokeswoman.
A serious drought, which led to higher ration costs, was also blamed for the structural changes in JBS Australia's business and the job losses.
Pork farmers are facing challenging conditions of sustaining their operations due to a glut in the supply of pork and other related products and high feed costs, said Pork SA chairman Mark McLean.
As a result, some farmers are forced to close their business, he added. The closures happened despite a recent recovery of pork prices and the slow reduction in supply. Furthermore, farmers are witnessing few gains, McLean claimed.
"There's one thing people can do and it's to really try and look at the packaging and support Australian products in the things we buy," he said. "70% of the pork that's used in small goods - mainly hams and bacon - comes from imported pork from overseas, and that doesn't help jobs in Australia and doesn't help farmers in Australia."
In addition, Australian Pork Ltd is seeking to export more pork to China by "working with government and inter-government agencies to try and develop protocols for access" to the Chinese market, McLean said.