TEAGASC Consult Industry on Future

IRELAND - A study of the pig industry to prepare a Development Strategy for the sector has been carried out by the Teagasc Pig Production Development Unit.
calendar icon 17 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

The study involved involve an extensive consultation process with all the main stakeholders and the findings have been compiled into a draft report on the future of the industry.

An outline of the report was presented to the stakeholders this week. The key issues facing the Irish industry are addressed including the competitiveness of Irish pig producers and how it compares to the industry in other European and international countries.

The report found that around 7,000 people are employed in the sector including about 1,200 on farms. Currently, close to 500 pig producers in Ireland produce 3.6 million pigs annually. The Irish industry exports approximately 60 per cent of its production and is worth €250 million annually. The report also states that pork is the most consumed meat in the world accounting for 38 per cent of meat consumption worldwide.

Head of the Teagasc Pig Production Unit, Brendan Lynch said that Ireland’s position as a world leader in pig productivity has recently been overtaken by a number of its main competitors.

"A key factor in improving productivity in future is to improve skill levels at farm level," he said.

Feed effects

During 2007 feed ingredient prices worldwide soared. Typically, feed accounts for about 70 per cent of the cost of producing a pig and high feed costs in Ireland require very efficient use of feed on the farm.

Brendan Lynch said: “Producers currently lose significant amounts of money as production costs greatly exceed the sale price. Survival in business requires tight control of production costs. It will take almost a year for pig supplies to react to the increase in feed price.”

Having identified the strengths and weaknesses of pig production in Ireland, the report recommends actions to be taken by the various stakeholders if the viability of the industry is to be secured. Fundamental to the survival of the industry is the implementation, within a short time-frame, of an agreed strategy by stakeholders.

The immediate establishment of a small task force, representative of the industry and chaired independently, to implement the agreed recommendations of the report is proposed. Among the priority issues to be addressed will be the financial viability of the industry, competitiveness, especially feed costs and the issue of manure management in the context of environmental legislation.

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