The Lean Principle Programme for pig farmers has been allocated funding of €500,000, according to an announcement by Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

According to the minister, who made the announcement today, Wednesday, May 1, the programme will allow pig farmers to increase their performance while maintaining food quality and animal welfare.

The announcement comes on the back of a recommendation from the Pig Industry Stakeholders Group, which found that the programme would “achieve operational and efficiency improvements” among pig farms.

In a sector which has shown itself to be remarkably resilient over recent years, the adoption of ‘Lean’ business principles will assist pig farmers to further increase performance and competitiveness without compromising the animal welfare and food quality principles that are critical to the success of the sector.

“I would strongly encourage pig farmers to avail of this unique opportunity to work directly with ‘Lean’ experts on their farms,” said Minister Creed.

The funding is being made available after a “successful” pilot programme, which involved collaboration between the minister’s department, Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland.

Funding will be available to pig farmers who are members of the Bord Bia Pigmeat Quality Assurance Scheme.

Participants will be working with a panel of ‘Lean consultants’ established by Teagasc and Bord Bia.

“I welcome the roll-out of the Lean Principles Programme for primary pig producers following the successful delivery of the pilot project among 29 pig producers,” said Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

“This ‘Lean’ initiative complements Bord Bia’s Pigmeat Quality Assurance Scheme (PQAS) by helping farmers to become more cost and process focused while continuing to meet market requirements and consumer demands,” she added.

Meanwhile, the director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle, said: “The pig sector in Ireland is resilient, and one in which efficiency and costs of production are critical to survival. ‘Lean’ principles have a role in improving this for the pig sector.”