Poultry and pig producers took to the picket line at Aldi and Lidl stores in Cavan town last week to highlight their anger and mounting concern for the future of the two sectors.

IFA poultry vice-chair Brendan Soden said egg producers face closure because of the failure of discounters to give a fair return to farmers.

“It’s almost 12 months since we began our national campaign to secure a viable income for producers. The supply of eggs is in jeopardy if a further 2c per egg is not ringfenced directly for egg producers,” he said.

“Producers are strongly considering not restocking their farms at this stage. In 2012, a half dozen free-range eggs sold for €2.19. Today it is €1.89, a reduction of 15%. This year alone, agri inputs are up 40.2%, consumer goods are up 9.1% and food price inflation is up 6.8%, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This simply does not add up to securing a supply of Irish produce into the future,” Soden said.

The IFA has warned retailers that producers are facing further significant cost increases in both feed and non-feed costs. If not addressed immediately, consumers will not find Irish eggs on the shop shelf in the near future.

Pig and chicken producers are joining the picket line to support the egg sector, but also to highlight their ongoing losses at farm level.

IFA pigs chair Roy Gallie said the losses that have been mounting continuously on pig farms for the last 400 days are completely unsustainable.

“The average size family farm, even having received Government aid, has an accumulated debt of €380,000. Primary producers receive only 15% of the retail price of ham, so I am calling on all retailers to pass back a larger percentage to producers immediately to ensure pig farm survival,” Gallie said.

Suckler and beef farmers ignored in Budget

IFA national livestock chair Brendan Golden said suckler and beef farmers are not fooled by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s re-stating of what is already set out in the CAP strategic plans in his budget announcements.

Golden said the additional €28m announced merely brings supports for suckler farmers in line with what they are currently receiving. Suckler and beef farmers are facing into 2023 with no recognition from the minister of the challenges facing the sector, he added.

He said the IFA has consistently called for direct supports for suckler cows to be built to €300/cow and a €100 rearing and finishing payment for beef farmers.

The minister has failed to provide these supports and also failed to recognise the challenges facing winter finishers by not providing a targeted payment based on production levels to offset input costs at the most expensive time in the production cycle. Golden said seeking credit for an advance payment of the fodder subsidy scheme will not wash with beef finishers and suckler farmers.