IFA Pig Committee Chairman Tom Hogan called on all pig factories to stop the cuts to price and return some degree of stability to the marketplace.
The pig price has been cut by 4c/kg on eight occasions in the last three months, dropping from a strong price in early February of €1.96c/kg, to today’s price of €1.64c/kg.
“The unprecedented worldwide pandemic has had drastic effects on many food-to-market channels. The foodservice sector in particular has been reduced to near closure, which has affected pig meat. The increase in retail sales has offset some of this reduction, and the underlying demand for pork and bacon still remains very strong today as it did pre-COVID-19,” he said.
The massive deficit of pigmeat in China, the world’s largest pig producer and consumer base, due to the devastation caused by African Swine Fever (ASF), combined with the cull of an estimated 10 million pigs in the US due to meat packer closures caused by COVID-19, will add to the supply-demand imbalance in coming months.
Tom Hogan called on pig processors to take a longer-term view regarding pricing and return value back into the Irish pig. Pig farmers are in no position to withstand price volatility on this scale after the turbulent number of years the sector has endured.
Without the price increase last summer, many farmers were faced with closure. Pig farmers have undertaken essential, but expensive, piggery maintenance and upgrading projects.
These necessary investments were underpinned by a projected pig price closer to €2/kg rather than today’s price of €1.64c/kg, which is back in the breakeven region.