The Fiji Pig Association, The Fiji Meat Industry Board and the Fiji Master Butchers Association are working with the Government to counter the effects of cheap imported processed pork that is “seriously threatening the survival of the industry.”
Among measures being considered is the introduction of a 32% duty on all of the processed pork products entering the country. He said the market continues to be distorted with the indirect entry of Bacon made in Australia from subsidized Canadian and European pork that sells far below the very best price “our subsidized” industry can offer.
“We believe these measures are necessary as we are talking about the very survival of an important industry to Fiji,” said Association President, Simon Cole. Mr. Cole is also the Interim Chairman of the Fiji Crop & Livestock Council that is supporting the association in its efforts.
“We have continued to hold talks with Government and they well understand our challenge. It has seen the positive results when it introduced a 32% duty on imported chicken so it is well aware of the benefits of introducing a duty on imported pig products.”
Mr. Cole said that presently Fiji’s pig industry supplies 80% of all requirements, ensuring food security in pork and helping to protect foreign reserves by producing and value-adding locally. The estimated value, according to a recent EU report, is about $32 million to the country in 2012. To achieve these results the industry has invested over $16 million.
“The result from the imports has forced the big pig farmers in the country to begin downsizing to cut costs, but the real danger is to the small farmers who cannot compete in this distorted marketplace and many could be closed within months,” said Mr. Cole.
Pricing is best illustrated by what subsidizing does to competition. Subsidized Canadian pork, (that is a reduction in the cost of producing the pork with government’s help), is priced at $3.05 per kilo. Compare this with non-subsidized pork that costs $5.20 to produce in Australia and the $5.70 it costs to produce in Fiji.
“We would be happy if we were competing on a level playing field. In fact we welcome the competition, but when we are facing subsidized pork products that seriously undercut the market, we need to protect our industry,” Mr. Cole concluded.