The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) pig committee is set to lead a rally of pig industry stakeholders to the Department of Agriculture’s head office on Tuesday, with those demonstrating set to demand a “clear indication” on the Department’s evaluation of the €100m emergency support package drawn up by the IFA.
“We are set to stay as long as it takes,” IFA pig chair Roy Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“There is utter despondency in the sector at the moment. The losses are mounting and these losses are staggering in scale,” he said.
The €100m emergency support proposal was developed by the IFA along with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Irish Grain and Feed Association (IGFA).
The plan would see an immediate injection of funds into the sector, with €50m paid back by pig farmers over the coming years.
“The plan is with the Department and has got support from a number of TDs. They must evaluate the package and give a clear indication on it,” the pig chair said.
The Department's head office is a short distance from Leinster House, where Dáil Éireann will sit on Tuesday.
€46.5m export losses
The announcement comes after the IFA informed Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on Wednesday that over 7,100 sows had already been slaughtered, resulting in the loss of 430 jobs, Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal.
This decrease in sectoral output represented by these lost sows is 3,847 finished pigs per week, equal to €46.5m of exports, he said.
An industry figure has stated to the Irish Farmers Journal that the number of farmers who left the sector over the past week was "about 14".
The combined payroll value of these lost jobs is some €15.4m, it was reported in the update delivered by IFA representatives to the Minister.
Gallie also went on to say that a Teagasc update on the pig sector has reported that a further 10,000 to 12,000 sows had a “very high risk” of being destocked in the next two to three weeks, as farmers continue to cut their losses and exit the sector.