Pig farmers furious at price cuts
Pig producers have threatened to take to the streets following a series of price reductions by processors.
Following a crisis meeting of producers from all over the country in Abbeyleix, farmers called on processors to immediately reverse a 4c/kg price cut which was imposed last week.
IFA pigs committee chairman Tim Cullinan said the latest price cut followed two previous reductions which had slashed returns to farmers by 12c/kg or €10/pig since August. He pointed out that feed prices had increased by €60/t in the same period.
"Pig producers who have successfully persuaded retailers to stock higher volumes of quality assured product are livid to hear from processors that they have given away the significant quality assured premium on the domestic market to facilitate retailer margins and decimate producer returns," Mr Cullinan said. "Losing the premium on quality Irish pigmeat is a disaster.
"If we can't trade up we can't survive because we will have to trade with commodity European product which can be produced far cheaper than Irish produce.
"At today's price, pig producers have no margin to hide.
"The losses are mounting and there is no access to the normal routes for credit that traditionally helped producers cope with poor prices.
"Processors can no longer engage in weak selling practices to gain market share.
"Irish consumers want Irish meat and this must be sourced from a small number of primary plants so a fair price should be achievable for all."
He said it was up to the primary processors to secure viable returns in the marketplace for their pig producers.
Mr Cullinan added: "They cannot continue to take the lion's share of the margin without serious consequences for primary production in Ireland."
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