Pig farmers and bakers face mounting costs as war in Ukraine affects wheat prices

  • Video report by Emma Hayward

Pig farmers and bakers are warning that the war in Ukraine has left them facing huge costs which could affect the price of food on the shelves.

A big player in global cereal production, Ukraine's exports have dropped dramatically, resulting in much higher prices for grain and wheat.

Already hit by a decline in the number of abattoir workers because of a combination of the pandemic and the impact of Brexit, it means that pork producers are having to pay more for pig feed.

Newark pig farmer Des Allan said: "Since mid-October we've been losing £2,000 a day. Since the Russian invasion the cost of feed has gone up so much that to us it'll be costing another £5,000 a week to feed our pigs.

"I think and hope that we will be here in five years time because we are so determined. But there will be a lot that don't survive."

And it is not just farmers who are struggling.

A symbol of Ukrainian hope in recent weeks, sunflowers produce oil essential for bread production. It's another of Ukraine's biggest exports and another product now in short supply.

Now grappling with a huge rise in energy costs, the resulting price inflation is being felt along the high street in places like Southern bakery in Ruskington.

Baker Jeanette Southern says the price of flour is up by £2 a bag and she is struggling not to pass the costs onto her customers.

She said: "Prices are going through the roof. They've gone up 40% in the last three or four weeks and going up again. It's having a big impact on our business."

Charlie Dewhirst, senior policy adviser at the National Pig Association said: "In the last quarter of 2021, some pig farmers were losing in excess of £40 per pig. We expect that has risen well above £50 now.

"The Ukrainian crisis – first and foremost an appalling humanitarian crisis – has very far-reaching consequences for British agriculture."

University of Sheffield Professor Wyn Morgan said: "There will come a point where prices will rise."

"That's difficult for all members along the supply chain. Of course ultimately for us as consumers."