Pig Producers Protest to Highlight Weekly Losses

by 5m Editor
8 April 2011, at 9:20am

IRELAND - Speaking from a protest outside Connolly meats in Monaghan IFA Pigs Committee member Michael Caffrey said: "Pig feed prices have risen to an unsustainable level over the last number of months and pig farmers are losing as much as €1 million per week. This has been the situation now for six months and at this point farming families in this industry are at crisis point."

Mr Caffrey said, “Pig producers invested over €500k into a promotional campaign through Bord Bia to encourage people to support Quality Assured Irish meat. These producers are frustrated at secondary processors such as Connolly Meats who are importing pig meat products, undercutting the market and effectively putting Irish farmers out of business.”

“Connolly’s are not the only ones importing pig meat, the problem is rife across the retail and food service sectors. The only way to currently identify Irish meat is through the Bord Bia Quality Logo. There is absolutely no transparency at food service level. Hotels and restaurants in Ireland are being supplied by the well known ‘white van man’ who buys imported products from wholesalers at knock down prices. This is then sold to the consumer, who believes they are buying Irish, at an inflated price.”

Following the protest Connolly meats met with an IFA Pigs Committee delegation and they have given a serious commitment to increase the amount of their produce carrying the Quality Assurance logo as they acknowledged the severity of the problems facing the Irish pig industry.

“If consumers, restaurants and retailers want to continue to purchase Irish meat, they have to make a conscious decision right now to support Irish. The industry is at a precipice and will not survive the coming month unless prices increase at farm gate level. This will only happen when the whole supply chain takes action,” Mr Caffrey added.

An IFA Pigs Committee delegation have also met with the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Marine & Food Simon Coveney to highlight the on-going crisis in the Irish pig sector and the plight of producers.

IFA National Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said, “There were a number of measures discussed with the Minister and his officials both short and long term that would go some way towards restoring farmers to profitability. The Minister said that he would investigate these initiatives and revert to the Pigs Chairman in the coming days.”