The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has organised a protest outside the country’s Department of Agriculture, calling on the Government to implement a rescue package for the country’s pig sector worth €100 million.
The proposed fund, also supported by Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Irish Grain and Feed Association (IGFA) would be jointly financed by a state, with €50 million to be repaid to the state over a 14 year period.
According to RTE news, around 300 farmers have been losing an average of €56,000 per month since last September as a result of feed and energy costs rising and low prices for pig meat. It is expected that as feed prices continue to sell the losses will escalate to €71,000 per month.
Speaking at the protest, IFA pigs chairman Roy Gallie said: “We are caught in a devastating price/cost squeeze. Some farmers have already culled breeding sows and more are suspending production. They cannot produce with losses of over €50 per pig and rising.”
Analysis from research and development agency for the agri sector, Teagasc, farmers are currently paid €1.40 per kg, but would need to get €2.20 in order to break even, and currently farmers are losing between €40 and €50 per pig.
So far the strain on the injury has caused 18 farmers to exit the sector, and Teagasc has estimated 69 on-farm jobs are being lost for every 10,000 sows, with more downstream jobs also at risk.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who recently allocated the industry €7m, or about €20,000 per farmer to help alleviate production costs, said of the initial funds: “Payments have commenced issuing to farm families with further payments issuing this week.
“This is an urgent, short-term response to assist producers that would be viable but for the extreme current circumstances and allow space for a more medium-term adjustment to market signals.”