The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is warning that the low level of current EU pig prices could spark “another exodus” from the sector.
IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, commenting on the outcome of last week’s European Commission forecast working group, raised a glimmer of hope for the Irish industry by reporting that most EU countries indicated to the meeting that pig numbers will fall this summer, due to fertility issues in 2014.
However, while accepting that this might lead to increased prices, he then added: “The concern is that with the current prices being paid, outside of the UK’s 1.80+/kg (£1.30/kg) there will be another exodus from the pig sector.
“Country of origin labelling may help slightly in the market and private storage may be of some help with stabilising prices but what is really needed is an increase in pig prices immediately.”
The IFA further commented that the current UK price is “where Irish pig farmers need to be” before reporting that top prices for export plants in Ireland remained well below the UK level.