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Minister urges EU to help pigmeat sector

by 5m Editor
18 October 2007, at 10:54am

IRELAND - Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan is urging the European Commission to support the Irish pigmeat sector by increasing export refunds for fresh and frozen pigmeat.

She said she contacted the commissioner on the matter and her officials have also been in intensive contact with like-minded European Union member states and the commission services in the run up to a management committee meeting in Brussels today.

Ms Coughlan (pictured) detailed the efforts that she and department officials are taking when she addressed an Irish Farmers Association (IFA) briefing for Oireachtas members in Dublin yesterday.

IFA leader Padraig Walshe warned that without Government action the €400m pig industry is facing wipe out because of crippling feed costs and consumer confusion over the origin of pigmeat. Stressing that country-of-origin labelling must be extended to pigmeat as a matter of urgency, he said processors who use imported products are not informing consumers about the origin of the pigmeat. IFA Pigs Committee chairman Michael Maguire said 7,000 jobs in the sector are at stake unless labelling is introduced.

In earlier statement, Ms Coughlan said the pig sector was traditionally a low profit margin business, but increases in feed prices, combined with an unfavourable dollar-euro exchange rate, has lead to increased pressure on producers.

Ms Coughlan said she is fully committed to providing consumers with information on the origin of pork and bacon at the point of purchase.

Irish pig producers say they are facing wipe-out if the Government doesn't step in to help the ailing industry. The IFA says rising feed costs are costing the average producer €3,000-a-week .

Source: Irish Examiner

5m Editor