The IFA has warned the pig sector against selling at €2/kg to the Chinese market ahead of the domestic price of €1.50/kg to €1.60/kg.

IFA pigs chair Roy Gallie said the domestic market has kept prices at €1.50/kg while others in Europe “floundered” at €1.20/kg.

“The domestic market must take priority and get Irish pigmeat when they want it. The Chinese carrot of €2/kg may happen, but we have to balance between our loyal customers and our exports to China,” Gallie said.

“While Germany continues to hold the market back in Europe, the reality is that their meat could easily come this way to replace our pigmeat, just as it does in Spain while they export large quantities to China.”

The pigs chair warned that Irish exports should be treated as a balancing act requiring careful management.

Gallie told IFA members: “You may find it frustrating that our price is not the same as Spain, but with the current EU prices, imports would be flowing in here.

“We will push at every opportunity with your help to raise the bar as quickly as possible, so that the factories return as much as they can.”