Protein Prices Putting Pig Production at Risk in Ireland

The Chairman of the IFA Pigs and Pigmeat Committee Tim Cullinan this week led a delegation to meet with management of Ireland’s largest pigmeat processor, Rosderra.
Mr. Cullinan said, “Pig prices year on year are higher in Ireland and across Europe, but with feed prices rising to over €1.30 per kilogram of meat produced, farmers are losing over €20 per pig. Irish consumers in our home market purchase 50% of the pigmeat produced in Ireland. This is the best quality, higher value cuts and yet this market is not returning a viable price to producers. Retailers both Irish and international are not passing back the increases that are required by farmers to keep producing Quality Assured product.”

Mr. Cullinan said “Outside of the cost of feed, right now pig producers are trying to stay afloat against a rising tide of increased costs. Legislation to improve the housing provided to European breeding pigs has been introduced at the behest of European consumers and by the end of this year, Irish pig producers will have invested over €40m in new accommodation for their animals.”

He said, “Irish farmers are investing in these new systems, they are providing jobs during the construction and will continue to provide employment when the work is done on the farms and in subsidiary businesses but we can’t pay for this alone. In the last year, the average price of pork and bacon at retail level has fallen. Consumers are benefitting from cheaper product as producers go out of business. Retailers and consumers must accept that this cannot happen forever, a fair price reflecting costs must be returned to the producer.”

Mr Cullinan said “I read two headlines in today’s paper ‘Soyabean prices soar to record high’ and ‘Food security a concern as one in three meals imported’. If the former is not addressed, Ireland could well be on its way to becoming a net importer of pigmeat, this is a reality that cannot be ignored.”

Action must be taken throughout the chain by all players; producers have absorbed the losses for longer than anyone thought possible while trying to borrow money for work which will have no direct return. Retailers and processors must play their part,” he concluded

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