The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has warned that it will prove “very difficult” for its pig farming members to make proper use of a new €17m investment programme, recently announced by the Irish government.
While making it clear the he fully welcomed the scheme, IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, told Pig World that with current pigmeat prices in Ireland being “below breakeven” it would be very difficult for pig farmers to find their share of the funds needed for investment.
He also said there was concern among his members that the €80,000 (£57,000) investment ceiling set for the scheme will be a “big limiting factor” in terms of the work that can be carried out on pig units.
Mr O’Flaherty was reacting to the launch of a €17m (£12m) pig and poultry government scheme by Ireland’s farm minister, Simon Coveney.
“This investment reflects my department’s ongoing commitment to the growth potential of this important sector and to the modernisation of farming in Ireland,” said Mr Coveney, adding that he hoped pig and poultry farmers will look very seriously at the opportunities offered by the scheme.
Co-funded by the EU, the programme covers a wide range of potential areas of investment. These include medicine dispenser units, water meters, solar panels, heat recovery units/heat pumps, energy efficient boilers, feed system upgrades (for medication reduction and energy efficiency) and energy efficient upgrades for farrowing, weaner and fattener housing.
Subject to the comments he’d already made on whether or not farmers could actually afford to get involved in such projects at present, Mr O’Flaherty agreed that the scheme will “give pig farmers the opportunity to invest in their units, and keep up to speed with the increasing drive to improve on-farm efficiencies”.