Ireland looks to the UK pig market for further export sales growth

Irish pig sector leaders are looking to the UK for a sales boost, drawing encouragement from recent market reports from their “nearest and largest market” and from the current price lead which the UK has over the Irish trade.

Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, “welcomed” reports this week which, he told Ireland’s producers, “suggests numbers are drying up” in the UK. 

He also pointed out that while Irish prices were 107% of the EU average for the week commencing December 1, they remained at only 80% of the UK price.

“UK prices remain considerably ahead of the Irish price at €1.83/kg (£1.45/kg),” he said, adding that the arrival of cooler weather will lead to slower growth, further impacting on UK supplies.

Mr O’Flaherty was commenting after the release of new pig sector figures for Ireland which showed a growth in domestic sales volume for bacon, currently up 4% year-on-year, and sausages, which have increased by 10% during the year to November 9, 2014.

Irish pigmeat exports, from January to September this year, were also reported to be well up on 2013, running 12% ahead of the same period last year.

The figures also showed factory pig throughput in Ireland’s export plants, for the week ending December 6, 2014, at 65,538 head, up 1,292 on the previous week and 6,998 more than in the corresponding week in 2013.   For the year to date, in fact, pig throughput in Irish meat exporting plants is currently running 4.7% ahead of last year.

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