Farmers call for higher prices from retailers as they welcome £2m pig sector support scheme
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has warned that price increases are needed from retailers to ensure the security of the pig industry during a difficult period.
The union was welcoming the Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots’ announcement that a new support scheme worth £2million for local pig farmers is to be rolled out to address the financial losses caused by market volatility, increasing input costs and getting pigs moved off farm for slaughter.
UFU president Victor Chestnutt said the scheme is needed greatly and will help to alleviate some of the financial pressure members are currently under.
“We’ve been engaging with DAERA officials over the past number of months about the deteriorating state of the sector and are pleased that the Minister has recognised the vital need for this support. It comes at a critical time when they are on their knees experiencing a crisis like never seen before. After months of enduring low pig prices and rising input costs, the impact locally of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has pushed them to breaking point,” he said.
“The new support scheme will help to deal with some of the losses already incurred on farm, but it’s important to stress that it will not cover the losses which our farmers continue to endure. Since the war in Ukraine, the market price of feed has soared to levels not seen before. The Northern Ireland pig industry is hanging on a knife edge. A price increase is still needed from retailers to ensure the security of the industry during this extremely difficult period.
“The NI pork industry has delivered a high-quality product, produced to world leading environmental and animal welfare standards for decades. If the sector collapses, our consumers will see a premium, local product disappearing from shop shelves, local food security will take a massive hit having a knock-on effect on rural communities and the NI economy.
“We are in dire need of retailers delivering an immediate increase in prices paid and consumers being understanding and supportive of that so that we can sustain our local pig sector. We’re all aware of how vulnerable global supplies have become, we need to be supporting local food production and helping to protect our food producers during these difficult times.”