Minister Coveney called on to process pig aid payments ‘without further delay’

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has been called on to take immediate and urgent action to ensure the pig aid payments are processed without further delay by Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy.

Carthy has said that the delay is increasing the significant hardship being experienced by farmers in the pig sector.

Furthermore, Carthy has called on the Minister to explain the reasons for such a delay in the first place.

“I fail to see any good reason as to why farmers in the pig sector have been treated in this manner.

“The pig sector has reduced dramatically in recent decades leaving the sector, in 2015, with some 1500 holdings.

“Even the nature of pig farming has changed, becoming a much more intensive operation. Pig farmers are like many other sectors in agriculture facing a crisis in their price.”

According to the IFA Pig prices are currently more than 20c/kg below the cost of production, meaning a loss to the average pig farmer of €5,000 per week.

The Sinn Fein MEP said that in response to a disastrous price year pig farmers were promised a portion of the aid package announced by the European Commission in September last year.

“While the mere €1m allocation of funds to the pig sector has raised many questions as it is totally disproportionate, in any case, it seems many are still waiting on payment.

“Farmers who slaughtered more than 200 pigs were promised a flat payment of €3,000 and while Dairy farmers received their flat rate payment of €1,350 in December 2015, pig farmers only received their application forms at the end of February 2016.”