Aids to private storage or export refunds must be introduced as a temporary, but immediate, measure to prevent further price drops says the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).
That’s unless an immediate political solution can be found to the Russian ban, according to IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, who has told Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that pig producers will otherwise find themselves on the “verge of extinction”.
Pointing out that pig prices had fallen by the equivalent of 15p a kg in just 10 weeks in Ireland, Mr O’Flaherty said that the market for Irish and EU meat was now under “severe pressure”.
“We have requested several meetings with the Minister this year but he has been complacent in relation to the Russian situation as the pig industry was increasing volumes exported and prices were rising,” he said.
“What people must realise is that prices only rose to a level of profitability this year and there is not and never was any room for the type of decreases that have been inflicted on farmers over the last number of weeks.”
Mr O’Flaherty was also critical of grain millers for “hiding behind poor purchasing decisions and refusing to properly reflect input price decreases back to farmers” and of a “number of major secondary pigmeat processors” who had, in the last number of weeks, “increased the volume of pig meat that they are importing”.
“It is disgraceful that Irish companies would increase the volume of imports at a time when the industry is under such enormous financial pressure,” he said. “The IFA pigs committee will do everything in its power to ensure that this meat is not placed on Irish retail shelves misleading the consumer and undercutting genuine processors who are supporting Irish farm families.”