AHDB Pork is the body that represents the interests of UK pork producers and, on Wednesday 14 January, it announced a bold initiative: the EU Pig Innovation Group (EU PIG).
The 19-strong consortium is made up of pork producers, researchers, development boards and agile innovators from across the EU. They have requested around €2m ($2.17m) from the EU under the Horizon 2020 scheme – a European research and innovation programme with a kitty of €80bn ($86.8bn) to bolster the global competitiveness of European business.
EU PIG hopes to coordinate, collaborate and disseminate pre-farm research and analysis as well as share knowledge and best approaches to technical production that can maximise profits.
Second time lucky
“We submitted an application last year but missed out by the narrowest of margins – we were just half a point behind, so we are hopeful we’ll be more successful this time,” said Charlotte Evans, technical innovation manager for AHDB Pork.
“The consortium comprises 19 organisations representing 13 member states, which together accounted for 92% of the EU’s pig meat production and 89% of the EU’s pig herd in 2014.
“There are national and regional pig producer groups, researchers, rural development boards, innovation practitioners and SMEs. EU PIG partners have a common desire to share and present best practice and research results on four specific themes – pig health management, precision production, welfare and meat quality.”
Is it unlikely EU politicians will reach a yes-no conclusion on AHDB Pork’s bid until the summer.