IFA National Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty is requesting the formation of an industry forum for the pig sector, similar to the structures already in place for the dairy and beef sectors.
Pat O’Flaherty said, ‘This forum should comprise producers, processors, millers, banks and all other relevant players in the industry. I am requesting that this forum is set up with immediate effect to address the current issues in the sector, and to set out a long term strategy for the future viability of this very valuable industry.’
He said, the Irish pig industry is experiencing one of the worst crises in decades and there are no signs of any real recovery in the near future. The average pig unit (600 sows) is currently operating at a loss of almost €5,000 per week. These losses are simply not sustainable and intervention is needed. The pig industry plays a very important role in the Irish economy; it employs 8,000 people and is worth approximately €1bn per year to the economy.
Pat O’Flaherty said “While we appreciate the EU has made some efforts to try to improve the situation with the introduction of two separate APS Schemes, unfortunately these have failed to have any real lasting impact on the market and do not address the longer term viability of the industry. Similarly, the allocation of €1m to pig farmers from the EU Crisis Fund, which has yet to be received by producers, is completely insufficient to address current cash-flow problems on farm.
“The formation of a pig industry forum must be a priority for the Minister with the main purpose to form a clear strategy that is workable and delivers for all players in the industry going forward”, O’Flaherty concluded.