Department may allocate EU funding to small scale pig producers

The Department of Agriculture is considering allocating a small portion of EU aid package funding to the Irish Pig Society to assist small scale pig producers.

The Department confirmed that a small portion of the EU funding, which was announced last September, was reserved to assist these small scale producers.

A spokesperson for the Department said that the scheme of temporary exceptional aid for pig farmers is directed to those farmers most affected by price volatility and the bulk of the funding was targeted at commercial farmers.

Under the package agreed, €0.5m was allocated for the pig sector for Ireland and the Irish Government subsequently matched this funding to provide an overall aid package of €1m.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that eligible beneficiaries for the scheme were defined as current pig herd owners who produced a minimum of 200 pigs in 2015.

“The minimum level of supply and the requirement to have supplied in 2015 ensures that the payment goes to existing pig farmers only and ensures that the payment is directed to those farmers most affected by the price volatility, thus meeting the requirements of the EU Regulations providing the funding.”

Earlier this month, the Minister announced that there were almost 300 approved applications for aid, and payments of €3,300 to each participant commenced on May 11.

Under the aid package announced by the European Commission in September, Ireland received a €27.4m in aid for dairy and pig farmers.

While the aid payments began issuing to pig farmers last month, their dairying counterparts received their share of the package, some €26m, before Christmas.