Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue appears to have thrown cold water at the IFA’s proposal for a €100m funding stream for pig farmers, saying it was a “massive” demand.
Following yesterday’s hog protest outside department offices, Sinn Fein TD Matt Carthy asked the minister directly in the Dáil if his department could provide the funding.
McConalogue responded that he was “aware of the acute challenge facing the sector and will continue to be in touch to respond appropriately,” but did not state whether or not the IFA proposal would be considered.
“I have had ongoing discussions with key banks over the past few weeks about the current challenges in the pork sector and the importance of their continued support,” McConalogue said.
“The key message I’m sending is that farmers who are experiencing cash flow difficulties should turn to banks as soon as possible.”
However, TD McCarthy explained that many farmers in his constituency had told him that “the banks are showing them the door and are not willing to give them any funding”.
The proposed €100 million fund, according to Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan, is what pig farmers see as “the most essential thing to stabilize the industry and enable it to survive”.
Citing the help other European states have received, he urged the minister to need “something to stabilize the industry” and clarity for the industry “as soon as possible”.
“We have seen these interventions in other Member States such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and France, where a €600 million rescue package has been made available to pig farmers,” he said.
He said the swine industry forecast a loss of 160 million euros in 18 months between September 2021 and March 2023.
While the ministry announced a €7 million support package for the pig sector a few weeks ago, a number of farmers have reduced stocks over the past two weeks, with the average pig unit falling by €28,000 in the two weeks following the National’s first meeting Committee on Feed and Food Safety has lost.
It comes as the EU pig price has risen but Irish prices are flat due to a ‘backlog’. Teagasc estimates that 5 percent of pig farmers have been forced out, with another 20 to 30 percent at risk of failure due to the rapid escalation in feed costs since the war in Ukraine.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/100m-fund-proposal-for-pig-farmers-a-massive-ask-says-minister-mcconalogue-41504126.html €100m fund proposal for pig farmers a ‘massive’ demand, says Minister McConalogue