IFA National Pigs Committee chairman Tom Hogan has accused the pig processing factories of undermining the pig meat market with unnecessary price cuts and he urged all pig farmers to strongly resist price pressure from processors this coming week.
He said the factory price cuts are not justified based on market returns, pointing out that pig prices across the main EU pig producing nations have all stabilised above €1.70c/kg.
"This is after a period of 12 weeks when the pig producers across mainland Europe were receiving €1.80c/kg plus for pigs as the pigmeat market was returning this level.
"Irish pig farmers never achieved that high price, and the Irish price was let fall to well below the EU average.
"After lagging behind the EU trade for so long, it is completely opportunistic for pig factories to drop Irish pig prices when they never implemented the increases that were due over the past three months," said Mr Hogan.
He said that the latest market update from the UK is that pig prices remain stable at £1.60/kg which is equivalent to in excess of €1.80c/kg.
After the financial hardships that all pig farmers endured during the disastrous pig prices years of 2015-2016, Mr Hogan called on the processing sector to refrain from manipulating the market in their own interests and offer back the Irish pig farmer the true value of their product.
He said the factories must stop undermining the Irish pig production system at this delicate time
Bord Bia reports that export markets to Asia are still strong and predicted to remain so into the future. The recent trade deal between the EU and Japan will see the reduction of tariffs on pig meat into the high value Japanese market in the near future, further increasing the marketing opportunities for iris pig meat on the export market.
Mr Hogan said that, following the price cuts of 4c-6c/kg imposed on pig farmers last week, it is clear that the smaller pig farmers are being used to prop up a two or three tier pricing structure.
A few larger suppliers appear to have medium term agreements to supply pigs at a price and smaller suppliers are used to "balance the books", when required and taken unjustified price reductions, as seen by the draconian price reductions by some processors, he said.