Pig farmers call for €100m ‘rescue package’ in protest outside Government buildings

Losses in the sector are estimated to be €160m over past 18 months, farmers say

Pig farmers are to demonstrate outside the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday morning over the increased cost of feed and fuel and poor prices for pig meat.

The protest, organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association, is calling for the Government to implement a “rescue package” for the sector.

Under the proposal by the association, €100 million would be put up by the Government and pig producers would pay back half of this from sales over the next 14 years.

Some pig farmers have gone out of business and others are suspending production, the IFA said.


Losses over the last 18 months are estimated at €160 million, it added.

Figures from Teagasc, the research and development agency for the agri sector, show pig farmers are currently losing €56,000 a month, with losses of €71,000 predicted for April.

Teagasc estimates that five per cent of pig farmers have been forced to exit, with a further between 20 and 30 per cent at risk of failure due to the rapid escalation of feed costs since the war in Ukraine.

The pig sector is the third largest livestock sector in Ireland, after dairy and beef.

It accounts for 6.3 per cent of the output value of the agri-food sector and generated exports valued at €930 million in 2021, and supports around 8,000 jobs.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue recently gave the industry €7 million, or about €20,000 per farmer, to help alleviate production costs.

Speaking at the time, he said he was “acutely aware” of the challenges pig farmers face.

“Irish pig farm families are currently facing unprecedented challenges due to a combination of low pigmeat prices and extraordinarily high input costs, due to international factors outside their control,” he added.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times