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Irish Pork Sector Still Facing Tough Times

by 5m Editor
23 January 2009, at 6:35am

IRELAND - A clearer picture of the damage done to the €1 billion pork industry caused by the dioxin crisis emerged yesterday.

It showed a cash crisis at processing and producer levels and diminished or closed markets internationally, reports IrishTimes.com.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and Food heard the delay in the recall of product from abroad was causing major problems to primary and secondary processors who manufactured pork products.

At farm level, farmers were receiving 12 c/kilo less for their pigs and two major processors were delaying payments for two weeks, creating a cash crisis on farms, the committee heard. On the domestic and international markets, claims for compensation are mounting up from retailers. Some are not only claiming for the loss of the product but for loss of profit as well, and processors also claimed a cash flow shortage.

On the marketing front, resumption of trade with overseas customers has been slow, and according to Cormac Healy of the Irish Association of Pigmeat Processors, in some cases, not at all.

He and Aiden Cotter, chief executive of An Bord Bia, confirmed Irish pork was still banned from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Russia. Mr Healy and Paul Kelly, director of Food and Drink Industry Irelandappealed for further payments from the special €180 million fund set up to deal with the crisis.