Crisis measures necessary for Irish pig industry
"Irish pig farmers are losing on average in the region
of €10-15 per pig or around €3,000 per week," according to the Irish Farmers
Association (IFA) President, Padraig Walshe at a recent Pig Survival Strategy
The meeting was attended by 200 people where IFA Chairman Michael Maguire
commented that "the situation was out of control and price increases are
According to the Central
Statistics Office (CSO), 1.3 million kilogramme of pigmeat was imported last year from
outside the EU into Ireland and Irish people are "being tricked into thinking
they are buying Irish products," said Walshe.
Michael Creed TD, Fine
Gael spokesman on agriculture and food criticised the government during a recent
adjournment debate in the DÃ¡il where it was highlighted that Ireland's €450
million pig industry employing 7,000 people was in crisis. He stated that it is
"not feasible for the remaining 500 producers in the sector to relocate their
production to Eastern Europe or Asia."
"It is expected that 30% of pig producers will exit the Irish
pig sector next year, which will inevitably lead to a rise in pigmeat prices
like in the UK in 1998," commented a senior bank official from AIB. "If Irish
meat can secure the backing of retailers, the national herd can be maintained."
The IFA believes that two-pronged approach to save the market is
necessary. Irish pigmeat producers could reclaim their market by joining forces
with Bord Bia (Irish Food Agency) in a revised marketing
In addition, politicians will be
lobbied in the coming fortnight to highlight the need for country of origin
labelling and for permitting the import of approved animal feed into Europe.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mary Coughlan pledged additional
funding to the IFA for a joint marketing campaign with Bord Bia emphasising
Quality Assured Irish Pigmeat.
She also commented that a draft
legislation requiring the origin of pig, poultry and sheep meat to be shown on
labels is being handled by the Department of Health and Children. On the website
of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, a public consultation is currently
taking place on this proposal. The next step is European Commission
â€¢ Irish Farmers Association
â€¢ Fine Gael
â€¢ Bord Bia - Irish Food Agency
â€¢ European Commission
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