IFA Pigs Chairman Tim Cullinan called an emergency meeting of the IFA Pigs and Pigmeat Committee to discuss the crisis situation that has arisen as a result of the increase in cereal and protein prices.
Mr. Cullinan said, “Irish pig farmers need an immediate increase in price to €2/kg for Quality Assured pig meat. This price is absolutely essential to save the Irish pig industry from extinction, considering current input costs.”
He said, “For the first time ever protein prices (soybean) have reached €500/tonne. Old crop barley and wheat to buy today is €270/tonne. Pig feed prices have risen to over €1.30 per kilogram of meat produced and farmers are now losing over €20 per pig.”
Tim Cullinan said, “Consumers in our home market purchase 50% of the pigmeat produced in Ireland. These are the best quality, higher value cuts and yet this market is not returning a viable price to producers. Retailers which give away meat free are playing a major part in driving the pig industry out of business. Factories must step up to the plate and do everything in their power within the home market to challenge retailers and secondary processors to increase returns immediately. They must also ask the question ‘why is 100% of the pigmeat on Irish shelves not Irish produced?”
“We are calling on the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and his colleague the Minister for Agriculture Simon Ceveney to immediately put in place the retailer Code of Conduct. How can elected representatives stand over the practice of giving away free bacon, and jeopardising Irish farms, while this piece of vital legislation is gathering dust?”
“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 concluded.