Updated: 13/11/09 : 15:05:16
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farming

Pig farmers outraged at lack of support

The Chairman of the IFA Pigs and Pigmeat Committee Tim Cullinan said that pig producers are outraged over the drop in pig prices this week, despite a rising EU market situation. Demand on the continent is up and yet Irish processors cannot find a way to secure better prices for Irish producers. In the last week, prices rose by 3-5c on the European market.

Although processors have stated that prices here would rise if prices across the EU rose week on week, Mr. Cullinan said, “this simply isn’t happening and the current situation cannot continue as pig producers are losing money.”

Mr. Cullinan said, “Pig producers are living on a knife edge between being stretched on credit and then losing money as retailers refuse to dip into their own margins to pay a realistic price for pigs. Processors have stated time and again that this is because of imports undercutting the market, taking up shelf space and ultimately the secondary processing sectors refusal to support Irish. The fact that this imported meat is labelled to appear Irish exacerbates that situation.”

Recently Bord Bia published their latest quarterly meat audit results. According to the survey, a number of retailers have dropped the number of products stocked that carry the Quality Assurance Logo.

Mr. Cullinan expressed his deep disappointment at this development. The poorest results were from Lidl, which has never been very supportive of Irish products, but recently gave assurances to IFA that there would be an increase in their level of support across a number of products. However the latest results show a decrease in the number of bacon and rasher products carrying the Irish logo and not one piece of ham in the stores surveyed was of Irish origin.

The Tesco bacon performance was even worse with Quality Assurance completely disappearing from the bacon products. At a recent meeting Tesco personnel claimed that this was a packaging issue, now a meat issue that will be rectified in the next three weeks. Mr. Cullinan said that farmers would be watching very closely to ensure that all assurances are followed through.

He concluded by saying “the secondary processing sector are responsible for the importation of huge quantities of meat and any increase in levels that displaces Irish meat will not be taken lightly by Irish producers. Given the opportunity by these so called Irish companies, retailers are turning their back on quality Irish products to replace them with inferior imports simply to boost their own margins.”