Ireland’s pig farmers demand “immediate” government action as losses mount

Irish pig farming leaders have called for “immediate action” to be taken by the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to address the current income crisis in Ireland’s pig industry.

“Irish pig producers are currently making losses of up to €10 (£7.15) on every pig they sell and this is simply not sustainable,” said Irish Farmers Association (IFA) pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, adding that prices “must rise to a level that provides a margin for the producer”.

Pointing out that export markets are vital to Irish pig producers, accounting for approximately 50% of all pigmeat sales, Mr O’Flaherty said that, currently, processors were claiming that it was “more difficult to sell product into these export markets”.

“We have failed to secure new markets following the Russian ban and farmers’ profitability is suffering as a result,” he said. “The Minister must ensure that Bord Bia (Ireland’s food board) works harder to promote Irish pigmeat on international markets.”

The committee chairman also warned of “growing concern” that processing capacity for pigs is not keeping pace with output in Ireland.

“Irish pig producers have achieved and surpassed the production targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy despite considerable economic constraints over this period,” he said. “Now farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to get pigs slaughtered at the weights being demanded by processors.

“This issue must be immediately addressed as output continues to grow as a result of production efficiencies.”

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