IFA threaten pig feed compounders with competition investigation

The Irish pig farming industry is paying the equivalent of £23 million a year more for its compound feed than is being charged elsewhere in the EU says the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), prompting talk of the need for a competition authority investigation.

“The Irish compound feed trade has serious questions to answer,” said IFA input project team leader, James McCarthy, pointing out that pig compound feed figures compiled by the EU show huge differences that are costing Irish pig farmers up to €30m (£23m) a year.

“As we are an island nation, there has historically been a small difference between Ireland and other major EU producers on feed costs due to Ireland’s necessity to import raw materials and our purely cereal based diet.  However since mid-2012, this differential has started to increase exponentially.

“Feed makes up over 70% of the cost of producing a pig and with composite feed prices almost €50 (£38) a tonne cheaper for our main pig producing EU neighbours, Irish pig farmers are at an unsustainable disadvantage”.

IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty went even further in condemning the part played by compounders in relation to the problematic feed cost issue.

“IFA met with all the millers last year, but they are clearly hiding behind poor purchasing decisions and profiteering by refusing to properly reflect input price decreases back to farmers,” he said.

“Decreases in feed prices are long overdue and this EU information shows categorically that Irish pig farmers are being exploited by the compound feed trade. Unless the trade addresses this massive gap immediately, farmers will have no option but to have the situation fully investigated by the Consumer and Competition Authority.” 

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