One Irish pig farmer is experiencing losses of around €120,000 every week, according to the leader of the Rural Independent Group.

Mattie McGrath made the comment as he called again on the government to introduce an immediate €30 million financial aid package for the pig sector, which he said is at a “catastrophic crisis point”.

The Tipperary TD said that pig farmers are currently battling against “explosive production cost increases and falling revenues”.

“Soaring input costs and supply chain disruptions, caused by Covid-19, Brexit and the government’s carbon taxes, mean a 500-sow unit is now losing more than €36,000 a month,” McGrath claimed.

“Pig farmers are in the midst of a perfect storm, with pig prices in Ireland down 40c/kg, from a peak of €1.85/kg to €1.45/kg deadweight, coupled with rising feed costs of €35 per tonne, meaning every pig produced on Irish farms is now losing over €38,” the TD added.

“For example, one farmer, who is sending 3,000 pigs to the factory each week, has explained to us how he is now experiencing losses of around €120,000 every single week,” he outlined.

Pig sector

The leader of the Rural Independent Group called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to implement an aid package similar to those in other countries.

“The French Ministry of Agriculture is providing a €270 million government package for their sector. This would translate into an equivalent figure of about €30 million for the Irish sector,” McGrath explained.

“Over 8,000 jobs depend on this sector, and I am now pleading with the minister and the government to urgently respond to this crisis, taking a multi-dimensional urgent approach to support these farmers,” the TD stated.

McGrath said that an emergency financial hardship scheme, in the form of direct grants, must be established and be available to all pig farmers. He also called for a zero or low-interest loan scheme for those with severe liquidity problems.

“Pig farmers in Ireland are facing an existential threat and are now overdue financial aid. We are pleading with the agriculture minister to fully grasp the direness of this situation and to respond with haste,” he concluded.