Retailer Tesco will put forward a proposal next week to work towards providing an increase in pig prices paid to farmers by early June, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

A delegation from the IFA’s Pig Committee met with both Tesco and primary pig processor Rosderra yesterday evening (Thursday, May 19), on foot of a series of IFA demonstrations in recent weeks.

These protests were targeted at secondary food processors, the most recent of which occurred over the last two days at Hilton Foods in Drogheda, Co. Louth.

On foot of the talks last night and the agreement from Tesco and Rosderra to put forward a proposal next Monday (May 23) to look to secure a price rise for farmers, the protest in Drogheda was stood down at around midnight last night.

Speaking to Agriland, IFA pig chairperson Roy Gallie said that the meeting yesterday evening was frank and constructive, though there had been no unequivocal commitment to increase prices.

Gallie noted that the Tesco representation at the meeting said the retailer had already been working on increasing prices for pig farmers. However, he acknowledged, that given the extremely high input cost environment, Tesco’s suppliers across a range of products are in a similar situation.

Gallie also noted that the price paid to farmers for pigs has increased by 4c/kg “across the board” as of this morning (Friday, May 20), which he described as a “gesture that we are moving in the right direction”.

The IFA is seeking a price increase to about €2/kg by June 1 to stymie the losses for pig farmers. However, this would still be someway off the estimated breakeven price of €2.25/kg.

In a further statement today, Gallie said that the situation “is critical, given the losses on farms”.

According to the Pig Committee chairperson, pig farmers are “resolute that the campaign will continue”.

“They are absolutely frustrated and angry at the lack of progress to address the dire financial situation on farms,” he added.

Gallie argued: “Factories need to immediately pay a significant price increase to farmers to alleviate the severe hemorrhaging of money at farm level.”