Matt Carthy MEP calls for urgent action on pig sector payments
Sinn Féin MEP for the midlands North West Constituency and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Matt Carthy, has called on the Minister for Agriculture to immediately resolve the delay in respect of aid payments for those in the pig sector.
"The pig sector has reduced dramatically in recent decades leaving the sector, in 2015, with some 1500 holdings. Even the nature of pig farming has changed, becoming a much more intensive operation.
"Pig farmers are like many other sectors in agriculture facing a crisis in their price. According to the IFA Pig prices are currently more than 20c/kg below the cost of production, meaning a loss to the average pig farmer of €5,000 per week. In response to a disastrous price year pig farmers were promised a portion of the aid package announced by the EU Commission in September last year.
"While the mere €1million allocation of funds to the pig sector has raised many questions as it is totally disproportionate, in any case, it seems many are still waiting on payment.
"Farmers who slaughtered more than 200 pigs were promised a flat payment of €3000 and while Dairy farmers received their flat rate payment of €1,350 in December 2015, pig farmers only received their application forms at the end of February 2016.
"This delay is increasing the significant hardship being experienced by farmers in the pig sector and I am calling on the Minister to take immediate and urgent action to ensure these payments are processed without further delay.
"The Minister must also explain the reasons for such a delay in the first place as I fail to see any good reason as to why farmers in the pig sector have been treated in this manner."