“We are staring into the abyss here. Our pig sector is an important part of agriculture in this country, contributing nearly €1bn in exports. However, the sector cannot survive a projected loss of €160m in 2022,” he said.
Roy Gallie said the situation could not be more stark. “We are caught in a devastating price/cost squeeze. Some farmers have already culled breeding sows and more are suspending production. They cannot produce with losses of over €50 per pig, and rising.”
“If the Government wants a pig sector, it must act now. We are at the point where farmers are exiting. If more go, then the upstream and downstream businesses become unviable and then the sector will be gone. It is that serious,” he said.
Roy Gallie said an industry-wide proposal to support pig farmers through the deepest crisis in living memory is sitting on the Minister’s desk.
“Part of the proposal is that pig farmers are offering to repay half the support through a levy on pigs once margins improve,” he said.
“However, Minister McConalogue needs to inject liquidity into the sector now if it is to survive,” he said.
“We acknowledge that the Minister has allocated some funding to date, but unfortunately that has been swamped by continuing losses and further feed price increases,” he said.
“Teagasc has warned that 30% of producers could go to the wall if there isn’t further support. A combination of factors has led to large-scale losses on pig farms. Feed prices have been increasing relentlessly since mid-2021. However, the war in Ukraine has substantially exacerbated this issue. The pig sector is one of the most exposed to feed price increase as it constitutes of the cost base of an Irish pig farm,” he said.