An IFA pig price protest outside Carroll’s of Tullamore finished just after midnight on Thursday after an Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) delegation successfully negotiated for the processor to commit to seeking an increase in pig prices, the association’s pig chair Roy Gallie said.

Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal that an understanding had been reached with management of Carroll’s of Tullamore whereby the managing director of the plant would seek a price rise from supermarkets that would allow them to pay farmers €2/kg for their pigs, up from around €1.68/kg currently.

Farmers have seen no price rise from factories since the price increased by 20c/kg in early April. This price rise had been entirely absorbed by a feed price increase in the same week.

It was also agreed that management would put to the company’s board the IFA’s request for putting the Bord Bia quality assurance logo an all its products.

Agreement reached

“We left after midnight. The agreement we reached was twofold,” explained Gallie.

“He [the managing director of Carroll Cuisine] agreed to go back to his board on putting the Bord Bia 100% Irish pigmeat logo on all their meat.

“He also gave the commitment to go back to retailers and seek a substantial price increase. He will look for €2/kg by June, but he can’t give it until he gets it,” commented the pig chair.

The management of Carroll’s met with representatives of the IFA’s pig committee on Thursday after farmers assembled outside the processor’s plant in Tullamore from 2pm.

The sector’s situation

Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal that, at times, processors and retailers had appeared to be lacking in understanding of the situation facing the pig sector’s viability, in light of cost increases leaving farmers with negative margins and increasing debt levels.

“The price of pigs must go up to unprecedented levels to survive. People are making decisions at the moment to exit pig production,” stated Gallie at the protest.

“There seems to be a lack of understanding of the full gravity that if we don’t keep the pig industry in place, it will disappear,” he said.

The pig chair also commented that processors and retailers had been “passing the buck” on who would be the one to seek the price rises that the IFA and pig farmers had been seeking.