The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has confirmed that it has stood down pickets at two pig processing plants ahead of “high-level talks”.

Farmers had been protested outside the Carroll Cuisine factory in Tullamore, Co. Offaly and at the Callan Bacon plant in Callan, Co. Kilkenny since early on Thursday morning (June 9).

In a post on Twitter, the IFA explained that the decision to suspend the protests was made as a meeting involving major players in the food chain has been scheduled for Monday evening (June 13).

It is understood that meeting will include farmer representatives along with processors and retailers.

It is believed the breakthrough followed discussions between management at the two plants where the protests were being held and IFA president Tim Cullinan and IFA Pigs Committee chair Roy Gallie.

The IFA has repeatedly said that a minimum price of €2/kg is immediately needed to help reduce the pressure on pig farmers as they cannot continue to sustain financial losses.

Earlier this week PwC released a report which estimated that 10% of pig farmers have already exited the sector in recent months, with a further 20% at risk of leaving the industry.

The Pig Industry and Ireland’s Economy revealed that government support to date covers approximately 16% of the €127 million losses which are expected to be incurred by farmers in 2022, according to the PwC report.

The pig industry contributes approximately €1.5 billion annually to the Irish economy while supporting over 8,000 jobs, and holding an export value of €932 million.

However, due to spiralling feed costs and low prices the sector is currently facing a financial crisis.

It is understood that the report will be examined by members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine following a request from member and independent Senator Victor Boyhan.