The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) Pigs Committee hosted what was described as “an emergency meeting” this evening, Monday, January 10, to discuss the current state of the pig sector in Ireland.

Speaking to Agriland following the meeting, IFA’s incoming Ulster/North Leinster regional chairperson, Frank Brady, outlined the purpose of the online meeting was “to discuss the pig crisis going forward and what we can do to try and alleviate the situation for pig farmers”.

The Irish pig sector is currently being hit with a combination of factors which are impacting margins including, soaring feed costs, reduced processing capacity and a difficult world market.

Continuing, Brady explained: “We, as pig farmers, can’t keep going the way we are. If we don’t do something now, there won’t be a pig industry in six months time.”

It was proposed at the meeting that the IFA should meet with the banks and seek a commitment from banks to “make a genuine effort to support pig farmers”.

Another suggestion brought forward at the meeting was for IFA to approach pig processors to see if kill capacity could be increased.”

Continuing, Brady said: “The concern here is that there is a liquidity crisis coming down the road because pig farmers are not making enough money to be able to continue buying feed”.

Pig price is currently at approximately €1.42/kg. In January 2020, pig price was at €1.95/kg and feed costs have gone up approximately €100/tonne since then, Brady explained.

The IFA has given a commitment to meet Bord Bia in an effort to seek a strengthened marketing campaign for consumers to choose Irish bacon.

The farm lobby group has also given a commitment to meet with banks as well as the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to see if more can be done with Covid-19 and Brexit funding to support Irish pig farmers.

“Covid-19 has been a part of the problem and Brexit has definitely been a lot of the problem,” Brady explained.

“Our sales of pork to the UK are down by 14% because of Brexit,” Brady noted.

“We have to do something because farmers are currently losing approximately €30 on every pig they produce,” Brady concluded.