Below reply by Minister Creed to my Parliamentary Question –
For Written Answer on : 28/03/2018
Question Number(s): 233 Question Reference(s): 14336/18
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the measures to be implemented at national and or EU level to support pig producers in view of recent pressure on prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Price volatility is a significant challenge for the pig sector and developments over the last few years emphasise the cyclical nature of prices in the sector. Current prices, which stand at €138.7/100kg are 16% below prices at the same time in 2017, which was an exceptional year for pig prices, but remain above price in the same period in 2016.
My Department has made a concerted effort to support market diversification. The importance of this is illustrated by the significant expansion in Ireland’s pig meat exports to East Asia, and to China in particular. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit lends an even greater importance to the expansion of access to international markets.
In June of last year I visited Mexico, now the fourth largest global importer of chilled and frozen pork. With Mexican demand continuing to grow I have made access to that market a priority. I also travelled to Japan and South Korea last autumn to promote the development of further opportunities for Irish producers in these markets as I want to continue to diversify the range of markets to which Ireland has access. Exports to Japan more than doubled to €22m in 2017, putting it in second place in international markets. We can reasonably expect that the new free trade agreement with Japan (JEEPA) will further enhance trade opportunities. Growth in the Philippines was also strong, up 54 % making it the third largest international market for Irish pigmeat exports.
With Irish production up almost 1% in 2017 and export value increasing some 14% to an estimated €712m, I intend to continue to work closely with the sector and, by focusing on insight-led growth strategies, to take advantage of opportunities for Irish pig meat exporters on international markets.