To raise awareness of the “unprecedented” financial crisis facing Irish pig farmers, pig farmers will be joining the Irish Farmers' Association's (IFA) pig committee in a demonstration at the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, Co Dublin, on Monday at noon.
“Pig farmers are suffering and cannot sustain the current losses for much longer. Without a co-ordinated response from all the relevant stakeholders, the entire sector is in jeopardy,” IFA president Tim Cullinan said on Monday morning.
IFA pig committee chair Roy Gallie has stated that no tractors are expected to take part in the protest and that the numbers expected to be in attendance are yet unknown.
He added that the current prices are unsustainable, as farmers are losing €35 per finished pig, with increasing feed costs being exacerbated by low pork prices.
'Immediate' increase needed
“Retailers will not have a supply of Irish pigmeat in the not too distant future unless pig farmers secure some sort of immediate price increase,” Gallie commented before the protest.
“Pig farmers that produce Bord Bia Quality Assured pigmeat have seen their costs of production increase at an unprecedented rate in the past year.
“Over the last 12 months, we have seen our margin completely disappear due to a combination of a massive increase in input costs, in particular feed, and falling output prices. As a result, the average Irish pig farmer is losing about €10,000 a week at the moment,” the Kildare farmer added.
An outlet of each of the major supermarket chains lies within walking distance from the shopping centre and it is understood that the committee anticipates visiting each of the retailers separately in the coming hours.
The heads of these major retailers have been contacted, according to Gallie, and the premises have been provided with advance notice of the demonstration for security purposes.
"Our real focus remains on meeting Government to discuss the situation. Today, we just want to let the retailers know what is going on," Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal.
In Brussels, ministers for agriculture from across the EU are meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the state of play in agricultural markets.
It is expected that concerns surrounding pigmeat price decreases will be discussed, with crisis funding thought to be a priority for the agenda for some member states.