Irish pig sector leaders have asked the country’s farm minister, Simon Coveney, to distribute the €1 million (£790,000) of EU aid, which he is already holding for Ireland’s pig farmers, with “immediate effect”.
The call, issued by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), comes on the back of “disappointingly unchanged” Irish pig prices, at a time when things are reported to be looking up elsewhere within the EU market.
According to IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, the EU market “continues its positive price trend this week, while disappointingly Irish prices remain unchanged”.
“Good news came from Germany first, with the announcement of a 4c/kg (3p/kg) rise midweek, while Belgium, Denmark and Holland all received similar increases,” he said. “Spanish and French pig farmers have also enjoyed some positive price news.”
It was in that context, therefore, that he added the IFA was now calling on all players in the industry; retailers, processors and millers, to play their part in supporting Irish producers through “this period of unsustainable low prices”.
The association’s additional request to minister Coveney to hand over their €1m immediately was issued despite earlier IFA comments that the support figure he’d negotiated in Brussels should really have been closer to €5m.
IFA’s latest figures show factory pig throughput in Republic of Ireland export plants, for the week ending March 12, 2016, at 63,255 head. That’s 3,613 more than in the corresponding week in 2015. Slaughterings in ROI export plants are running 8.8% ahead of the same period in 2015.