Every pig producer in Ireland is making a loss with many facing ruin unless prices rise says the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), in an urgent call for action at an EU level.
Speaking outside the headquarters of the Irish Association of Pig Meat Processors (IAPP), during a protest by the country’s pig producers, IFA President Eddie Downey urged EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, and Ireland’s farm minister, Simon Coveney, to push for the introduction of market measures in the EU that will effectively remove the excess product from the EU that is depressing pig prices.
“The majority of our EU neighbours held pig prices stable over the Christmas period,” said IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty. “In fact, spot prices in our largest market, the UK, actually increased in the first week of the new year. Despite this, some Irish factories dropped prices over the Christmas period leaving farmers in a completely uneconomic position.”
Adding that many farmers were already “on their knees” before Christmas, he said that the latest price drop will force producers out of business, with prices being the equivalent of 16p/kg below the cost of production.
“There are two sides to this, the political level and at the Irish processors level,” said Mr O’Flaherty. “We accept that pig prices have come under pressure in the EU due to the Russian ban but our continental neighbours have been protected from the real pain of this ban by lower feed prices. Irish feed prices have not dropped in line with the EU leaving us in a production cost squeeze that is destroying farm viability.
“The latest pig price drops are completely unwarranted, as it is clear to see that our export market and our home market continue to perform really solidly. The factories cannot continue to simply blame Russia, there is opportunism evident here and this is absolutely unacceptable, pig prices must rise immediately.”