The recent spate of pig price drops handed down by processors was described as “pure profiteering” by farmers at a meeting in Portlaoise last Wednesday.

IFA pig chair Roy Gallie told the meeting that by the end of this month, pig farmers will be operating at break even or well below break even for two and a half of the last three years.

“That’s a fairly stark statistic. For the last three months, we’ve had seven drops in price, bringing us back perilously close to break even yet again,” Gallie explained.

Bank borrowings

Those seven drops, Gallie said, sent shivers up the spines of every pig farmer in Ireland. The average pig farmer has bank borrowings of half a million euros still hanging over their bank accounts, he added.

“What essential industry can endure a period of such continual losses and, just as importantly, what young farmer would look at our industry as an attractive proposition to dedicate their lives to?” Gallie said.

One of the farmers who expressed their anger at processors, said that pig farmers have been treated with contempt.

Meanwhile another farmer said that in his view “this is profiteering, there’s no other question, that’s what the processors are doing. They know what the European average is and they know we were well ahead of it, even though pigs are scarce and they’re looking for pigs. They’re dropping their price and they’re ringing you looking for more pigs the following week. It’s pure profiteering lads. You’re talking about looking for a meeting, the meeting I think you should be having is at their gate.”