SOUTH AFRICAN PIG FARMERS ARE WARNING OF A CRISIS THAT THREATENS A MASS EXODUS FROM THE INDUSTRY -
Rising fuel costs coupled with the increasing cost of labour and a decline in the price of pork are just some of the concerns keeping South African pig farmers awake at night. The most significant of these concerns, though, are those associated with feeding our animals, which represents 75 percent of input costs for pork producers.
UKRAINE IS THE 'BREADBASKET' OF EUROPE
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a massive impact on the price of grain across the globe. Together, these two European countries make up the biggest suppliers of wheat for animal feed worldwide and the conflict has not only led to a rapid increase in prices, but also to an unreliable supply of grain across the globe.
South African farmers are not exempt from the impact of this war and these rapidly increasing prices are driving many local farmers out of business.
While farmers battle to keep their heads above water, supermarkets continue to import pork - exposing the South African consumer to cheaper, imported meat produced to low and often unethical standards.
Many of the smaller scale pig producers are unable to ride out the storm and soon, just the highly geared intensive pig producers will be able to remain in the game. To survive, it is likely that corners will be cut which poses serious welfare concerns to the animals involved in these intensive farming units.
“I suspect we’ll lose many farmers who farm between 100 and 400 pigs. They’re really feeling the pinch” says Sappo chief executive Johann Kotze.
While there are some farmers who will be able to absorb these and other costs (and operate at a loss), there are many more who will simply go out of business.
It is crucial that we support the best of South African farming, or, we are very much in danger of losing it.
Thanks to your support for our sow-friendly farming methods we have been able to continue to farm ethically. On our farm, The Chestnuts, we subscribe to The South African Pig Welfare Code. This Code is based on the belief that pigs should be afforded the five freedoms of Webster:
- Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear and distress
Dargle Valley's 'sow friendly' promise ensures that pregnant sows are grouped together and have freedom to move around and socialise before they are moved to individual farrowing crates before giving birth. This happens for a shorter period of time than in traditional South African pig farms. Our pens are designed to allow for escape areas and places to hide. We provide our sows with material such as wood chips so that they can root and forage, which is their natural behaviour.
Our pigs eat a diet that is strictly maize-based. They are never given any growth stimulants or hormones and only the best genetics available in South Africa are used in our pig herd. We work closely with a specialised pig veterinarian to ensure the health of the herd is maintained.
We stand together to support the future of South African-raised pork and pig farming. Through these challenging times, we must continue our high level of welfare and sustainable farming.
We know it is a difficult time for many people and we thank you for choosing Dargle Valley. Your support allows us to do things the right way. All of our products are handmade on the farm using the finest quality meat, blended with custom spices. We avoid the use of gluten and MSG and no rusks, starches or soya is added to any of our products.
At Dargle Valley we don't believe in shortcuts. That is why we still do things the old-fashioned way. Our hams are hand-pressed and our bacon is dry-cured. We believe that you can taste the difference and it helps us to guarantee a healthier product for you and your family. We don't believe in artificial products like liquid smoke and GMOs - just handcrafted, traditional meat prepared the way it should be.