Farmers Blame Processors for Continuing Low Prices

IFA National Pigs and Pigmeat Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan has said the Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton should investigate Irish pigmeat factories, which he said were jeopardising the future of the Irish pig industry.

“Pig prices across the EU have been steadily rising since the start of October.  Producers have been told by processors that they can only compare themselves to other exporting countries. However, German and Dutch prices have increased by 10c/kg, and Danish prices have increased by 7c/kg. These are the EU exporting countries, they are going to the same markets as Irish factories but they are returning a price increase to their suppliers. In the same time period, Irish factories have dropped the price of pigs by 4c/kg.”

At a recent meeting, Tim Cullinan outlined how Irish producer prices were almost on a par with the average of these other exporting countries between October 2010 and October 2011 (€1.40 for Ireland versus €1.42 for the EU). Now the gap is beginning to widen. Producers are at a loss to understand why prices are not increasing considering the strong exports, falling EU supplies and the fact that pigmeat retail volume and value year on year has increased on the home market.”

Mr. Cullinan said, “Processors have denied the returns are being withheld from producers. Producers are questioning the ability of those in the processing sector to sufficiently capitalise on positive market conditions. Processors are either profiteering, or they are remiss in their business operations. Whichever, they are risking the future of the sector.”

“It appears that only for the campaigns run by IFA such as the DNA traceability, processors would be unable to secure or maintain markets at home. If they cannot make a profit when demand on the export markets is so strong, pig producers have to be concerned about what the future holds for the industry,” Cullinan concluded.

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