THE Australian Pork Limited team is taking the lead on several fronts in response to the rapidly evolving impact of COVID-19. APL is committed to ensuring Australian pig producers and the wider pork industry are able to respond strongly to the unfolding situation.
As an industry, our priorities are to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality and nutritious Australian pork.We are encouraged by assurances from federal and state jurisdictions that agricultural supply chains are recognised as essential services and will remain operational during any shutdown periods.
Nonetheless, we will maintain a vigilant watch on anything that may compromise producer and processor operations. APL is working closely with the National Farmers’ Federation and directly with the Federal Government to guarantee the movement of animals, product and farm inputs across the country, including across state borders.
APL is also in regular contact with state-based pork groups to communicate updates on national initiatives and receive valuable local feedback to help guide ongoing APL priorities, including maintaining access to a wide range of markets. State-based representative groups are working closely with their respective state government to ensure the industry remains operational to maintain supply to consumers and uphold the wellbeing of the animals in care.
As a member of NFF, APL and our producers are being strongly represented at several high-level Federal Government working groups, convened by the Prime Minister, relevant Ministers and Commonwealth departments. This engagement has been strengthened by Minister David Littleproud’s appointment of former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Mark Tucker as the key liaison between the department and industry, to help ensure agricultural production and supply chains are maintained throughout the COVID-19 response.
Fresh pork plays a significant role in meeting our national food needs – on average each Australian eats more than 10kg of fresh, locally produced pork every year. Australian processors have a combined weekly throughput of about 100,000 pigs. They are doing everything possible to uphold employee wellbeing to keep their businesses operating.
Now more than ever it is so important consumers look to buy Australian pork, ham and bacon to support the 35,000 people employed across the country in the industry, representing the livelihoods of thousands of Australian families in regional communities. Pork will continue to be a major source of protein for Australians in the coming weeks and months and producers are well placed to meet increased demand for affordable and versatile Australian pork at supermarkets and butchers.
Accordingly, APL’s Marketing team has commenced work to promote recipes and ideas for consumers who have purchased pork to eat at home. A great eating experience is always important, especially for those who don’t regularly prepare pork meals in their own kitchen.
Meanwhile, the foodservice trade, which represents about 25 percent of our sales, has been brought to a devastating standstill by the isolation measures designed to limit the spread of the virus.
I encourage all of us – we are all consumers – to support foodservice businesses, which remain operational during this critical time. Home delivery services are a great way to support the restaurants that support our industry, even if you’re eating at home. Producers are encouraged to consider how the range of Federal Government support measures may apply to their businesses. From an on-property perspective, APL has also developed a guide for producers to manage the risks posed by COVID-19.
This guide and other ongoing updates are available via australian pork.com.au