Sustainability: ‘Pig production has one of the lowest carbon footprints’

“We are all eating healthy now and pork is as healthy as you can get.”

These were the sentiments expressed by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Pigs Committee chairman Thomas Hogan this morning after The Lancet report called for a 90% reduction in red meat in developed countries.

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Sustainable farming

Hogan also pointed to the sector’s production methods and the low-carbon footprint associated with that.

“From a sustainability point of view pig production in Ireland has one of the lowest carbon footprints; we are all eating healthier these days and pork is as healthy as you can get. People are living longer now; so if meat products were that bad for us that wouldn’t be happening,” he added.

The report also points to more sustainable farming methods – an area Hogan feels is being explored extensively by Irish farmers.

“Of course there are more sustainable methods of farming and the IFA has already looked at solar energy as an alternative; in respect of this a reasonable energy programme would help to move everything along on that front,” the chairman continued.

“We have ample space in this country for solar and that would be very sustainable farming. We also need to look at the production of gas and electricity – both of these are options as well.”

Hogan also commented on the difficulties within the pig sector at the moment and highlighted the fact that 2018 was the worst year for production in 20 years. He also called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to introduce financial measures to assist struggling farmers.

Pig sector

“Returns are back about 4%; feed prices went through the roof and that has not helped either. We also need to talk to the banks as well. The biggest worry is the glut of pigs that’s out there and we would be asking processors to immediately increase the price.

“This would at least show some confidence in the industry,” he added.

Hogan said that, with culling in Germany and other parts of Europe, numbers would “tighten up” relatively quickly and called on the minister to provide a loan scheme that would help the sector out in these difficult times.

“We have looked to meet with the processors so that we can discuss the situation; we want markets to start improving again. Produce is at an all time low in the shops and the sector needs help to get through all this.”