IFA National Pigs and Pigment Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said that the price drop foisted on pig producers by some factories, including Rosderra, was unjustified, unacceptable and must be reversed immediately.
Speaking at the O’Donovan Rossa Autumn School in Clonakilty, the IFA Pigs Chairman said that although pig farmers have come through a horrendous time, the industry has increased production this year and can achieve the 50% growth in value outlined in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy.
“Pig farmers have been under enormous pressure over the last 18 months and it is testament to the efficiency of these producers that they have been able to survive at all.”
Mr. Cullinan said, “This price drop is pure profiteering. Any factory that drops prices in a week that Danish and French prices are rising is making an unfair profit off the back of farmers. This action shows that they are attempting to protect themselves from price increases as pig numbers are falling and prices should in fact be increasing. They are relying on the old cyclical nature of pig prices where farmers would almost expect prices to fall at this time of year following feed price drops. Considering that feed prices have not decreased to any great extent this year, prices cannot fall.”
A number of the major EU producers have recently published data that suggests that pig numbers in the EU will tighten over the coming months as sow numbers are beginning to drop off in response to feed price hikes. However, even with current numbers, the export market continues to perform really strongly, both for Ireland and out of the EU, especially to Asian markets.
Mr. Cullinan said, “Processors have indicated that even though export growth in first six months of the year was really positive, the second half of the year is expected to be even more positive. On top of this the fresh pork contract for Musgraves, valued at an estimated €14m, which up to now had been supplied by a Northern Irish company has been won by a Southern Irish company. It has been claimed that the movement south of this contract would be worth up to 10c/kg for Irish pig farmers.”
Since IFA started the campaign to reclaim the home market, retailers have shown more and more loyalty to Irish meat. Just this week, Tesco outlined their Christmas sourcing policy to IFA and it is a positive outcome for the industry in that they will be purchasing 100% Irish gammons and hams this year. The strategy also appears to be working for the company as they are growing their Market share. Rosderra the main orchestrator of the price drop are the main suppliers to Tesco through Hilton Foods.
Mr Cullinan said, “Farmers are asking why they are pushing retailers to buy more from our Irish factories if they are simply going to pocket all the rewards for themselves? This price drop must be reversed and farmers given their fair share of the profits.”