There needs to be a substantial rise in the price of pigmeat, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.

He said there is a responsibility on the processing sector to be part of the survival of the pig sector.

“We need to see a substantial increase in the price of pigmeat urgently.

“If retailers are serious about having Irish pigmeat on the shelves, the increase needs to be passed back along the supply chain to keep farmers viable,” he said.

Pig farmers had acknowledged the price rise of 20c/kg for their pigs, which was announced two weeks ago, but the IFA has said this was wiped out by the increase in feed cost the same day.

Haemorrhaging losses

IFA pig chair Roy Gallie said the substantial increases pig farmers had expected to come, need to come much quicker from the marketplace, and in turn from the processors.

“Farmers are haemorrhaging losses for over six months now at unprecedented levels and this cannot be sustained any longer with breakeven over €2.10/kg.

“Farmers need at least 50c/kg on today’s prices to be covering their costs,” Gallie said.

IFA pigs vice chair William Murphy says that farmers need an injection of working capital urgently.

“We acknowledged the €13m fund which was announced by Department of Agriculture, but we have no detail yet.

“The payment of €70,000 per single undertaking is only going to cover the losses on an average size 600-sow unit for circa six weeks. Teagasc is forecasting losses of €58,000 for April and €46,000 for May.”