The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) will hold a rally in Dublin today (Monday, January 17) to highlight the “dire circumstances” in the pig sector, with prices falling and costs simultaneously rising.

In a message to fellow IFA members yesterday, the association’s pig chairperson Roy Gallie confirmed the details of the protest.

The event is set to take place at the The Square Tallaght shopping centre in Tallaght, Dublin.

The rally is due to begin at 12:00pm and is set to last for a “couple of hours”.

“All retail outlets have shops within walking distance and our message is to support Bord Bia quality assured [produce],” Gallie said

He thanked members of the committee for what they are doing in the “dire circumstances”.

The pig chairperson also noted that the committee will meet with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue this week on the issue, saying: “We need to give our negotiating team backup in advance”.

In a further statement this morning, Gallie said that pig farmers are losing over €35 on every pig produced, a situation he called “completely unsustainable“.

“Retailers will not have a supply of Irish pigmeat in the not-too-distant future unless pig farmers secure some sort of immediate price increase. Pig farmers that produce Bord Bia Quality Assured pigmeat have seen their costs of production increase at an unprecedented rate in the past year,” he said.

Gallie added: “Over the last 12 months, we have seen our margin completely disappear due to a combination of a massive increase in input costs – in particular feed – and falling output prices. As a result, the average Irish pig farmer is losing about €10,000 a week at the moment.”

Meanwhile, IFA president Tim Cullinan, a pig farmer himself, said in advance of today’s rally that pig farmers are “very concerned” about their futures.

“We need all stakeholders, including retailers, Bord Bia and our minister to take immediate steps to stem the losses on pig farms.”

The IFA highlights that Brexit and Covid-related issues have had a “severe impact” on the pig sector.

The association highlights that, since Brexit, the value of pigmeat exports to the UK has collapsed. Covid-19 has also impacted on processing and the supply chain, further exacerbating market issues.

“Pig farmers are suffering and cannot sustain the current losses for much longer. Without a coordinated response from all the relevant stakeholders, the entire sector is in jeopardy,” Cullinan warned.