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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Unless the price of pig meat increases, the demise of the sector is inevitable’

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has warned that Northern Ireland’s (NI) pig sector is “at breaking point”.

The body has stated that the sector is “facing a crisis like never before”.

Pig farmers have been subjected to months of “enduring” low pig prices and rising input costs.

However, the farm group says the impact locally of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has now pushed pig producers to “breaking point”.

The UFU calls on retailers to deliver a “fair” pig meat price increase with immediate effect in a bid to “save the sector”.

NI pig sector

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said: “Our pig producers are on their knees.”

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“They have never experienced such financial difficulty like they are right now – it is gut-wrenching.”

He said pig farmers have been enduring “serious” losses for months due to market volatility and increasing production costs.

Chestnutt added that farmers have been struggling to “keep their head above water”.

Now, Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine has resulted in the price of raw materials “going through the roof”.

“Unless the price of pig meat increases, the demise of the pig sector is inevitable.”

“Pig producers across the country will be put out of business. They simply cannot keep up with the eyewatering price increases any longer,” he added.

For decades, he said the UK pork industry has delivered a sustainable, protein source for consumers.

He said they produce a “high-quality” product that is Red Tractor assured, produced to “world-leading” environmental and animal welfare standards.

“If our pig sector crumbles, the consumer will be at a major loss too. Our local food security will take a massive hit. It will impact rural communities and the NI economy.”

To ensure the industry survives and food security is protected, he believes retailers must deliver an immediate increase in prices it pays.

“It may not be pleasing for the consumer, but the reality is, we need our pig sector now more than ever.”

“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,” he concluded.

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