IFA ‘condemns’ price cut by pig factories

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has “strongly condemned” today’s announcement by pig factories of another 4c/kg price cut.

IFA Pig Committee chairman Tom Hogan said: “While there is price pressure across Europe, other market factors that don’t apply to the Irish market are being used as an excuse to lower the price.”

The chairman added that all Irish export plants are benefitting from full access to important Asian import markets, particularly China and demand for pigmeat remains high.

“The deficit of pork in China has seen pork exports rise by 6% in 2020 and it is now the number one destination for Irish pigmeat exports, according to Bord Bia,” he added.

Domestic demand for pigmeat

Hogan added: “The domestic trade for pork and bacon has shown great resilience in 2020 and the Irish pig industry has benefited from the reduced volume of imports this year, which are down 23%.

Retail sales of pork, bacon and ham have soared in 2020 on the back of foodservice restrictions, with double digit growth in pigmeat retail sales.

“While pork is a worldwide traded commodity, our local market advantages and access to premium export markets, have placed the Irish pig processing industry on a solid footing,” he added.

Hogan has accused pig processors of being opportunistic: “This move to drop the pig price again only increases the factories’ margins on the back of pig farmers. They should recognise that farmers need a justifiable and sustainable price, above €1.60c/kg.”

Recent data from the Central Statistics Offices showed that the total number of pigs in Ireland in 2019 was just north of 1.6 million head, a marginal decrease of 5,000 head on the 2018 figure.