16 Oct 2014
MINISTER PLEDGES TO HELP THE DISTRESSED PIG SECTORPigs
Following a meeting with Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, IFA National Pigs and Pigmeat Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty said, “The Minister is now fully aware of the difficult situation on Irish pig farms and the fact that pressure has been intensifying. We explained that mills were not reflecting falling grain prices through compound feed prices, which is adding severe pressure to the chain”.
The Minister said that he was impressed with how the Irish pig farmers has managed to survive the unmitigated volatility of the last number of years unaided and that this will be factored this into the new TAMs grant scheme, under which IFA has sought funding to modernise facilities. The Pigs Chairman outlined the necessity for an investment ceiling in line with what was offered during the last grant scheme as a lower ceiling would prevent farmers from completing works of any real benefit to the efficiency of farms.
Mr. O Flaherty said, “We outlined how important that the right tool is used and in this instance that tool is export refunds. Therefore, it was very disappointing to read that the immediate introduction of some form of support for producers impacted by the Russian ban was not being introduced. There appears to be very little political pressure coming from the EU to support the sector despite the fact that this has evolved into a crisis in a rapid space of time”.
Pat O’Flaherty said ‘there are tools that the Commission can use and although it is obvious that the sector can survive through peaks and troughs, this is a political problem and therefore it must be sorted out at a political level as the failure to find a home for the displaced product is decimating prices. The Minister did state that the Department was working hard to open the Chinese market to Irish factories, as this would be beneficial to increase the value of the Irish pig but all these things are slow and we need an immediate solution”.
“The export market is very important for shifting displaced product but our home market is being damaged by increasing volumes of imported meat, we asked the Minister to support increased promotions of Irish meat through Bord Bia both at home and abroad. We want a campaign targeting the lower value cuts that are simply no longer used in Ireland. We want to show consumers the value and range of products that pig meat can offer.”
“The bottom line is that there are a number of ways that the Minister can help the pig sector and it is vital that he takes action immediately”, Mr. O’Flaherty concluded.