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Ireland's farmers 'fail to understand' pig pricing levels

Staff Writer |
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says it can’t explain why pig prices in Ireland have fallen so far behind the EU average in recent weeks.

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Currently running at 93% of the EU average price, the Irish market situation has prompted EU analysts to ask the IFA what is happening within the country’s pig market.

According the IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, the association replied that it simply “fails to understand” the recent trend in Irish prices, especially in the face of market conditions which have remained unchanged.

This latest IFA comment, issued as part of the association’s weekly market price update, continues a running battle with processors.

In his August week one report, for example O’Flaherty warned that Irish pig farmers were becoming “increasingly frustrated at the processors decisions to halt prices in recent weeks”.

He followed that with a week two comment that farmers were entering their 6th consecutive week without any price increase and that this amounted to “completely unacceptable” action by processors as Irish prices continued to fall further behind the EU average.

Now, according to this week’s update, O’Flaherty has revealed that producer reports point to “silent increases” from Irish processors having been paid to some suppliers over the last three weeks.

“It appears that these were initially paid to a sub-section of producers but have now been extended to cover most of the supply base,” he said, adding that this still leaves some factories up to 5c/kg (4p/kg) adrift in certain cases.

The current 93% (excluding VAT) level of Irish prices, compared to the EU average, contrasts with the Irish/EU price balance earlier in the year which was often either equal or slightly in favour of Irish producers.

All of which leaves the Irish price, according the latest IFA report, at €1.52/kg compared with an EU–27 average price of €1.64kg.

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