‘Our pig producers are on their knees’ says Ulster Farmers’ Union

Following months of low pig prices, rising input costs, and the local impact of the situation in Ukraine, the Ulster Farmer’s Union (UFU) has said the pig sector is facing a crisis ‘like never before’, and is calling on retailers to deliver a pig meat price increase with immediate effect.

“Our pig producers are on their knees. They’ve never experienced such financial difficulty like they are right now – its gut wrenching,” said UFU president Victor Chestnutt.

The call to retailers echoes yesterday’s message from the National Pig Association (NPA) when ” NPA chairman Rob Mutimer said: “The situation is now beyond desperate and there is no light at the end of the tunnel”.

Mr Chestnutt cited the market volatility and increasing production costs, alongside the rise in cost of raw materials as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine as the reasons the Northern Irish pig sector is ‘struggling to keep their heads about water’.

“Unless the price of pig meat increases, the demise of the pig sector is inevitable,” said Chesnutt. “Pig producers across the country will be put out of business. They simply cannot keep up with the eyewatering price increases any longer.”

He called on retailers to deliver an immediate price increase in prices paid for pig meat products to ensure the industry survives and the country’s food security remains protected.

He added that it may not be pleasing for the consumer, but the reality is this is the only way to sustain it during these difficult times: “Global food supplies are in a highly vulnerable state due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the world’s population is growing daily, we need to be supporting and safeguarding our local food production not watching our food producers struggling to survive another day in business.”

Earlier today, Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots announced a further £2 million support package for the country’s struggling pig producers, with the support scheme is targeting pig farmers who have been financially impacted by the effects of weakening markets, increased feed costs and getting pigs moved off the farm for slaughter.

Responding to the news, Mr Chestnutt said: “The new support scheme will help to deal with some of the losses already incurred on farm, but it’s important to stress that it will not cover the losses which our farmers continue to endure.”

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