June 21, 2023
Sustainably-sourced soy key to UK pork production, says pig industry official
The United Kingdom's pig sector is constantly exploring alternative protein sources, but sustainably-sourced soy remains essential to pork production, National Pig Association (NPA) chief executive Lizzie Wilson told the BBC Farming Today programme.
Wilson explained that UK pig farmers have already reduced their reliance on soy.
"The pig sector does use a significant proportion of soya, but we have managed to reduce that inclusion by half, and I think we're at the lowest level now that is feasible," she said. "We can't just remove soya completely from the diet because it is still the most efficient source of protein available and is easier to digest for the pig, so it creates much less nitrogen out of the back end."
She pointed out that 70% of soy imported into the UK is accredited as coming from sources carrying no deforestation risk and, of that remaining 30%, around 27% is from land with low risk of any deforestation.
Alternative protein sources were not going to be this "magical, cheap silver bullet" people sometimes think they are as the logistics and cost associated with them and the lack of efficiency compared with soy, she added.
"If you look at the alternatives, there is no easy and straightforward option. If it was that simple, we would have been doing it by now. Locally-sourced cereals and legumes are far less protein dense, insect protein is still a number of years off and food waste comes with a significant disease risk," she said.
Asked about the need to cut pork and poultry consumption by more than 80% to facilitate alternative proteins, she added: "I'll let them break that to the general public. At the end of the day, we're still only 40 to 50% self-sufficient in pigmeat in the UK and we are simply supplying a demand."
- Pig World