‘Pig sector pressures must be addressed’

The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) has told the DAERA minister, Edwin Poots, more must be done to tackle a growing crisis on pig farms across Northern Ireland.

A meeting with the minister was used to highlight the financial pressure farmers currently face. Labour shortages in processing plants, soaring input costs and depressed market conditions have resulted in severe financial pressures on farms.

Commenting, the UFU pork and bacon chair, Glenn Cuddy, said, “Pig producers are facing unprecedented times. Trading conditions are already difficult with costs of production exceeding the market price of pigs. Labour shortages in processing plants have taken these issues to another level. Our members have been unable to move all of their pigs to slaughter over recent months. This creates a significant backlog on farms, taking a huge slice out of cashflows. This is unsustainable.”

The UFU says this is being made even worse by a weakening market for cull sows. It is warning that this is piling pressure on top of pressure for farmers already in a difficult financial situation.

“If things are not resolved quickly, it will create even more chaos for farmers and processors. Action is needed now, or farmers could be out of business in the very near future,” said the pork and bacon chairman.