Two members of the Rural Independent Group have, once again, highlighted the crisis in Ireland’s pig sector.
Both Richard O’Donoghue and Mattie McGrath shed light on the matter during a Dáil debate entitled Pre-European Council Meeting: Statements in the chamber on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022.
O’Donoghue told the house that “5% of pig farmers have left the market, while 20-30% of pig farmers are now in crisis and are about to go out of business”.
He believes that “energy is the issue” and believes that guarantees regarding the supply of energy and “affordable” prices need to be given to everyone, especially food producers.
He told the Dáil that the pig industry sector supports 8,000 jobs and generates €1.7 billion in output.
Ireland’s pig sector
The deputy said the government must provide a pig stability fund, which stakeholders have called for over the past week.
He believes this “has to happen for the producing of food in this country”.
“I said to the government and the opposition last October that shelves would be empty and that our food producers would not be able to produce food due to the escalating cost of fuel.”
“Currently, for those in the pig industry to bring in an acre of extra silage at today’s prices costs €50 an acre more.”
“Where does the government think milk and food will come from in this country? It was given the toolbox to reduce costs, but what did it do? It increased them,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, deputy McGrath echoed his views, calling for a fund to the tune of a minimum of €70m for pig farmers.
He warned that if the government does not provide this, “the pig industry will go the way of the beef industry”.
Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme
He referred to the DAFM’s Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme, which it opened to commercial pig farmers who have produced more than 200 pigs in the period January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021 inclusive.
Farmers can avail of a minimum payment of €3,000 for 200-300 pigs and a maximum of €20,000 for 1,300 pigs and above.
McGrath slammed the payment rates, describing them as “a pittance”.