The IFA has set out a list of 11 demands to address the current “financial crisis” in the pig industry.
Following an emergency meeting of the farm group’s pig committee, Tim Cullinan, called on all stakeholders to respond.
He stressed that pig farmers cannot carry the cost of this crisis alone.
The farm leader outlined that the latest drop in pig price of 4c/kg, and the rise in feed cost by €35/tonne, means every pig produced on Irish farms is losing over €35.
“A farmer with 500 sows is racking up losses of €10,000 per week,” he remarked.
“Retailers must immediately increase the price they are paying for pigmeat. Foodservice must ensure they are buying Irish pigmeat at this time of extreme crisis at farm level,” he said.
IFA pigs chairman, Roy Gallie, said each stakeholder must “step up and safeguard” the sector from losing more pig producers.
He said producers ultimately only receive a payment of what is left over after processor and retailer margins are taken.
“This crisis is unprecedented, and nothing less than everyone’s genuine intervention is needed,” he stressed.
Pig industry crisis
The IFA’s list of demands:
- All pig processors to maximise their processing capacity of pigs to reduce the weights of pigs on farms, including working on Saturdays if necessary;
- The government to facilitate Veterinary Inspectors supervising Saturday production;
- Also, pause all state levies.
- Retailers to increase the shelf space and promotion of pigmeat. To maximise the volume and value to Bord Bia QA Irish pigmeat customers. Furthermore, to increase the price, they pay for Irish pigmeat to their suppliers.
- Bord Bia to run a comprehensive promotional campaign for pigmeat in all local press and radio across the country. To assist the public procurement agencies in buying QA pigmeat and to drive a Feile Bia-style initiative with the catering and hospitality sectors also to use QA pigmeat.
- The govt to increase the amount of domestic product they buy, consistent with their commitment to their Green Procurement policy.
- Teagasc to focus its resources to optimise the nutrient value in feed ingredients and to reduce the cost of production of pigmeat. Also, increase their interaction with client farmers.
- Govt to explore emergency state funding of the pig sector through Brexit and Covid supports;
- Banks to work “constructively” with pig farmers to support them through this current period of difficulty. This should include low-cost, flexible working capital facilities, interest-only arrangements and loan repayment breaks where necessary;
- Mills to continue to support and facilitate pig farmers who are experiencing difficulties. To explore all avenues to reduce the cost of pig rations;
- Finally, veterinary and pharmaceutical sector to reduce the price for products and services.