The Prince of Wales has backed the pig industry by calling for higher prices to be passed on to farmers.

The Prince, who sent a statement to be read out at this week's Pig & Poultry Fair, commended those retailers who have raised the prices of their pork products. "However, little, if any, of the increase is being passed down the chain to the farmer and, unless urgent action is taken, this country's pig sector, which has never received subsidies, could be decimated," he added.

BPEX chief executive Michael Sloyan agreed, adding that farmers' plight didn't necessarily mean soaring price rises were needed. "I do not think that retailers' prices need to go up that much more - what we have to see is a better share," he stressed.

Sloyan said the mood in the pig sector was, nevertheless, more positive following signs prices were beginning to move upwards and pork consumption was on the rise. "I think we are going to see quite a strong market in 2008," he predicted.