Coronavirus: Plea to buy local to help NZ pork industry survive

  • 28/04/2020

A Wellington smallgoods producer is urging New Zealanders to buy only locally raised and farmed pork, to help keep local pork farmers going during the COVID-19 response.

The NZ Pork Board estimates NZ has an oversupply of up to 5,000 pigs per week due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.

General manager of Harrington's Smallgoods Angus Black said farmers had been under mounting pressure with the closure of cafes, restaurants and butchers during level 4.

"Before level 4 restrictions around 60 percent of NZ pork went to cafes, restaurants, producers like ourselves and independent butchers.  

"With most of these avenues closed over recent weeks farmers are struggling to feed their stock and provide enough space to house them and ensure their welfare. 

"Add to this the fact that 62 percent of all New Zealand's pork is imported, and you can see the industry is in an incredibly tight spot," said Black.

Angus Black said local pig farmers had been struggling with the closure of cafes, restaurants and butchers during level 4 lockdown.
Angus Black said local pig farmers had been struggling with the closure of cafes, restaurants and butchers during level 4 lockdown. Photo credit: Supplied

The company had launched a new online store in an effort to drive demand and support the local industry. 

"It's important to us we do what we can to support the farmers who have been working alongside us for many years. We want to drive demand for what is some of the best pork in the world." 

Black said consumers should only purchase brands which clearly state where the pork was raised and farmed. 

"Buying local has never been so important to the future of our industry."

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange recently there was no easy solution but encouraged New Zealanders to buy local.

"The people who are using imported products didn't want to rush away and turn their backs on that product.

"We have encouraged them to use more local produce," said O'Connor.

He said there was a complex supply chain, but encouraged large companies to use locally-farmed pork if possible.

"They might have to charge 30 cents or so more for 500 grams of bacon, then so be it and they used more domestic product, then that would be a good outcome.

"But things don't change overnight in these food supply systems," he said. 

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