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Irish Producers Furious at Pork Price Drop

by 5m Editor
12 January 2010, at 8:12am

IRELAND - The chairman of the National Pigs Committee of the Irish Farmers' Union (IFA) has said that the price drop passed back on New Year's Eve was devastating for pig producers.

Tim Cullinan said: "Pig farmers have always been led to believe by the processing sector that price decreases are associated with prevailing market forces. However, in a week when UK prices had actually risen by 6p/kg, (Euro price of €1.51/kg), the Irish price went in the opposite direction, further widening the gap between Ireland and the UK.

"This price drop must be reversed immediately as pig farmers are in total despair at this point and will not continue to produce pigs under the cost of production. According to Teagasc, the cost of production per kg of pig meat in December 2009 was €1.33. The average price being paid for pigs this week is approximately €1.25/kg. This equates to a loss of €6.40/pig sold.

"Pig meat processors have led farmers to believe that when pig numbers returned to previous levels, that plant efficiency would also improve leading to price increases in the region of three to four cents per kilo. In effect, this means that this latest drop in price is an eight-cent per kilo gain for the factory."

Mr Cullinan attributed the situation to processor negligence in securing a viable market for Irish products and producers are being forced to seek alternative markets for their pigs as pig production in Ireland is now in jeopardy of total collapse.

He concluded: "The UK markets continue to be the most important markets for Irish pig meat and UK producers week after week secure a higher price than their Irish counterparts. Irish farmers have made every attempt to protect the Irish market for Irish meat while processors have taken the soft option of reducing prices paid to producers at every opportunity. Irish producers have no option now but to pursue alternative markets for their pigs."