The Ulster Farmers’ Union says pig producers are being squeezed between rising feed costs and a failure by processors to deliver a meaningful price increase, despite prices rising for farmers south of the border and in Great Britain.
Pork and Bacon chairman, Norman Robson, has described this as unacceptable, and has urged processors to help bring back some stability for farmers or face a loss of pigs to live exports.
Mr Robson says local pig producers are frustrated and disappointed by the reluctance of processors to pay a price that reflects the upturn in the global market place.
“Many of our producers are struggling to make any margin at all with losses of five to ten pounds a pig. That is all the worse when we produce pigs to the same strict Red Tractor production standard, yet receive less than farmers in GB,” he said.
He added that while this was a long-running problem it was even worse now because producers south of the border, who are not eligible for the Red Tractor scheme, are receiving five pence a kilo more for their pigs by selling to Northern Ireland processors who refuse to pay the same price to local producers.
“Making this even worse, one processor has tried to cut the price this week, despite a rising market. Against that background we would encourage producers here to speak to processors in GB about sending live pigs there to secure the better prices available. This would improve their margin and tighten supplies here, which would force local processors to raise prices,” said Mr Robson.