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Closure of major Quebec pork plant is a blow for P.E.I. hog producers

The Olymel plant in Vallée-Jonction will gradually shut down over the next few months, the company announced today. (Sébastien Vachon/Radio-Canada)
Source: CBC

Most Island hogs are shipped to plants in Quebec, including the one slated for closure
Several pigs gather in a pen. 

With no federally regulated processing plants in Atlantic Canada, P.E.I. pork producers send nearly all their animals to plants in Quebec. (CBC)
The group that represents pork producers on Prince Edward Island says the closure of a large slaughterhouse and packing plant in Quebec will hurt the industry on the Island.

On Friday, Olymel announced plans to downsize before fully closing its plant in Vallée-Jonction, near Quebec City, by the end of this year.

“This is a very difficult day for the pork sector in Atlantic Canada,” said Denise Cassidy, executive director of the P.E.I. Hog Commodity Marketing Board.

“This will cause an oversupply situation for all the producers in Atlantic Canada.”

With no federally regulated hog processor in the Atlantic region, P.E.I.’s 12 licensed hog producers ship nearly all their animals to several plants in Quebec.

Yanik Gervais, Olymel’s CEO and president, said the decision to close one of the company’s four Quebec plants was “inevitable” given current market conditions.

“The pandemic, the labour shortage, the rise of costs related to inflation, not to mention the closure of the Chinese market, have really affected the fresh pork industry,’ said Gervais.

Despite the challenges in the industry, Cassidy said she remains “hopeful” Island producers will find new buyers.

“We’ll reach out to all partners in our industry, and work with the government to see if we can find alternative buyers for our hogs, and for the affected producers of the day,” said Cassidy.

“This does highlight the need for processing capacity in the region for sure.”

The Olymel plant slated for closure currently employees nearly 1,000 workers. The CEO said they’ll be laid off in phases over the next eight months.

The plant will completely shut down in December.

Source : Swine Web

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