Irish farming leaders have called for the setting up on all-industry pig forum to help the industry through “one of the worst crises in decades”.
“This forum should comprise producers, processors, millers, banks and all other relevant players in the industry,” said Irish Farmers’ Association pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, adding that the proposed body should be set up with immediate effect to address the current issues in the sector, and to set out a long term strategy for the future viability of this “very valuable industry”.
“The Irish pig industry is experiencing one of the worst crises in decades and there are no signs of any real recovery in the near future,” he said. “The average pig unit (600 sows) is currently operating at a loss of almost €5,000 (£4000) per week and these losses are simply not sustainable.”
He also pointed out that the pig industry plays a very important role in the Irish economy; employing 8,000 people and being worth approximately €1bn (£800m) per year to the economy.
“While we appreciate the EU has made some efforts to try to improve the situation with the introduction of two separate APS Schemes, unfortunately these have failed to have any real lasting impact on the market and do not address the longer term viability of the industry,” he said. “Similarly, the allocation of €1m (£800,000) to pig farmers from the EU Crisis Fund, which has yet to be received by producers, is completely insufficient to address current cash-flow problems on farm.
“The formation of a pig industry forum must be a priority for the (Irish) farm minister with the main purpose of forming a clear strategy that is workable and delivers for all players in the industry going forward.”