Pig farmers still awaiting EU aid money, months after dairy farmers were paid

Irish pig farmers are still waiting their share of the EU aid package money that was announced last year.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney told the Dail that a direct aid package payment would be issued “very shortly” to all pig farmers in Ireland, with a minimum level of supply of 200 pigs slaughtered in 2015.

“This means a flat rate payment of over €3,000 to each farmer. This will ensure that the payment is directed to those farmers most affected by the price volatility, thus meeting the requirements of the EU Regulations providing the funding,” the Minister said.

Under the EU aid package, a €27.4m payment was due to be made to Irish dairy and pig farmers, with pig farmers to receive €1m of this funding.

However, pig farmers are still waiting to receive their payments despite their dairying counterparts receiving their share of the package before Christmas.

Last month the Minister also said that the aid package monies will be issued to pig farmers “very shortly.”

In 2015, pigmeat export volumes increased by about 8% to a value of €570m – a 2% fall from the year previous.

“I am conscious of the fact that prices have come under pressure over the last year and a half and the difficulties that this is causing for producers,” the Minister told the Dail.

“This is not an exclusively Irish phenomenon and Irish prices have actually remained ahead of the EU average for the last five months.”

The Minister said Ireland has requested the Commission to continue and intensify its political, technical and diplomatic efforts to unlock the Russian market for EU pigmeat.

“We proposed that the Commission re-engage and secure access for products outside the scope of the Presidential decree, such as pig fats and offals.

“…Furthermore, Commissioner Hogan has reiterated his determination to promote the EU’s interests and open up new markets for EU products, with a specific €30m envelope for dairy and pigmeat available under the EU Promotion Scheme to reflect the market disturbances in those sectors.

“Ireland, through Bord Bia, will be making an application for a proportion of this funding in the very near future,” the Minister said.