McConalogue mulls bailout as hog sector faces ‘precipice’

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalouge said he was closely examining a bailout plan for the pig sector put forward by the industry as some pig farmers fear they could go out of business.

The swine industry is seeking €100m in funding from the government, with the IFA noting that ‘the whole future of the sector is at stake’.

Roy Gallie, chairman of the IFA Pig Committee, said the situation couldn’t be more “crass”.

“We are caught in a devastating price-cost pressure. Some farmers have already culled breeding sows, others are stopping production. You cannot produce with losses of more than €50 per pig and counting.”

Pig farmers held a protest outside the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday to voice their concerns.

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue and Foreign Secretary Martin Heydon met with the IFA late Tuesday to discuss the situation.

Minister McConalogue confirmed that he had received the joint emergency funding proposal from the IFA, the meat industry and feed companies.

He said he examined it closely.

“I’m committed to working with the industry to explore all possibilities to support this really important industry.

“Our pig farmers have always been remarkably resilient, but I am fully aware of the challenges the sector is currently facing.”

However, McConalogue also noted that he, along with Secretary Heydon and the rest of the Government, have already taken action to support pig farmers during this challenging time.

Recently the government announced the Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme (PEPS) with a fund of up to 7 million euros. The maximum payment under this program is €20,000. Disbursements to applicants have begun, Minister McConalogue said.

The minister also said he had met with the banking sector regarding the current situation.

In a statement after yesterday’s meeting, the IFA stressed the urgency of the situation.

“The Minister and the IFA will work intensively on a solution in the coming days.

“The IFA protest in front of the ministry has been paused for the time being,” it said. McConalogue mulls bailout as hog sector faces ‘precipice’

Fry Electronics Team

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