NI pig sector at breaking point, says UFU

Friday, 11 March, 2022

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says the Northern Ireland (NI) pig sector is facing a crisis like never before. After months of enduring low pig prices and rising input costs, the impact locally of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has now pushed pig producers to breaking point. The UFU is calling on retailers to deliver a fair pig meat price increase with immediate effect, in a bid to save the sector.

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said, “Our pig producers are on their knees. They’ve never experienced such financial difficulty like they are right now – its gut wrenching. They’ve been enduring serious losses for months due to market volatility and increasing production costs, struggling to keep their head above water, and now, Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine has resulted in the price of raw materials going through the roof. Unless the price of pig meat increases, the demise of the pig sector is inevitable. Pig producers across the country will be put out of business. They simply cannot keep up with the eyewatering price increases any longer.

“For decades, the UK pork industry has delivered a sustainable, protein source for consumers. A high-quality product that is Red Tractor assured, produced to world leading environmental and animal welfare standards. If our pig sector crumbles, the consumer will be at a major loss too. Our local food security will take a massive hit. It will impact rural communities and the NI economy.

“To ensure the industry survives and our food security is protected, retailers must deliver an immediate increase in prices paid. It may not be pleasing for the consumer, but the reality is, we need our pig sector now more than ever and this is the only way to sustain it during these difficult times. Global food supplies are in a highly vulnerable state due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the world’s population is growing daily, we need to be supporting and safeguarding our local food production not watching our food producers struggling to survive another day in business.”