IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Government has to move urgently to give details on how it intends to support pig farmers hit by the most severe income crisis in nearly 20 years.
Addressing an emergency meeting in Dublin this afternoon attended by over 150 farmers, the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue committed to providing Government support in the form of direct aid for pig farmers.
Tim Cullinan said there is no time to waste. “Pig farmers will go to the wall if they’re not supported. We have put a number of proposals to the Minister and his Government colleagues, including the Tánaiste at a meeting yesterday. If there isn’t immediate action, the pig sector will not survive,” he said.
The IFA President said retail regulation is long overdue, and a ban on below-cost selling has to be revisited.
“This Government cannot stand by any longer. A Food Regulator is needed to take on the retailers and re-balance the food chain. Producers have to get a margin to keep them viable.
IFA Pigs Chairman Roy Gallie said each stakeholder must work to safeguard the sector from losing more pig producers, who are price takes and only receive 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 said pig farmers cannot carry the cost of this crisis alone. The latest drop in pig price and the increase in feed costs means every pig produced on Irish farms is losing over €35. Currently, a pig farmer with 500 sows is racking up losses of €10,000 per week.