Speaking from a protest at Wilbay Ltd in Emo, Co Laois this morning, IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said pig producers were frustrated and angry at the actions of secondary processors that were threatening their livelihoods.
“Pig farmers are losing as much as €1m per week as pig feed prices have risen to an unsustainable level over the last number of months. Farming families in this industry are at crisis point.”
Mr Cullinan said “pig producers invested over €500,000 in a promotional campaign through Bord Bia to encourage people to support Quality Assured Irish meat. These producers are frustrated at secondary processors such as Wilbay, which are importing pig meat products, undercutting the market and effectively putting Irish farmers out of business.”
“Wilbay are not the only ones importing pig meat; the problem is rife across the retail and food service sectors. The only way to currently identify Irish meat is through the Bord Bia Quality Logo. There is absolutely no transparency at food service level. Hotels and restaurants in Ireland are being supplied by the well known ‘white van man’ who buys imported products from wholesalers at knock down prices. This is then sold to the consumer, who believes they are buying Irish, at an inflated price.”
“If consumers, restaurants and retailers want to continue to support Iocal producers, they have to make a conscious decision right now to buy Irish. The industry is at a precipice and will not survive the coming month unless prices increase at farm gate level. This will only happen when the whole supply chain takes action,”Mr Cullinan added.