An Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) delegation led by president Tim Cullinan and the chair of the Pigs Committee, Roy Gallie, met with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue last evening (Tuesday, January 18) to discuss the ongoing difficulties in the pig sector.

The association’s pig committee held a protest in Tallaght, Dublin last Monday (January 17), to highlight the “dire circumstances” in the sector at present, with costs increasing and price to farmers falling.

At the protest, Gallie highlighted the spiraling costs of inputs for pig farmers, including barley, wheat, soya protein, soya oil, minerals and vitamins, declaring that pig feed is at “historic highs”.

As well as that, secondary inputs such as wages, insurance, electricity and transport have all also escalated, the protestors said.

Meeting with minister

After the meeting Cullinan said: “The minister and his officials acknowledged the scale of the problem and the serious consequences for pig farmers.

“A roundtable meeting of stakeholders is due to take place next week, chaired by Minister [of State Martin] Heydon. The department needs to come forward to this meeting next week with tangible measures to ease the crisis,” he added.

Roy Gallie added that based on Teagasc data, farmers are losing €37.84/pig due to the price drop, combined with an unprecedented increase in feed prices.

“They need an immediate solution,” Gallie said.

Pig trade

Meanwhile, African Swine Fever (ASF) is set to continue to impact the global pigmeat trade again this year, according to Bord Bia.

Further outbreaks of the highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease have been recently detected in Italy, Macedonia and Thailand.

There have been no outbreaks of the disease in Ireland, but it has been spreading throughout Europe since 2014.

Peter Duggan, pigmeat and poultry manager with Bord Bia, said that ASF is having a “significant impact” on European trade.