Worker shortages in Northern Ireland’s pig processing plants are causing huge financial pressure on farmers, claim the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).
Pig producers are in the middle of a crisis, with global demand weaker, price pressure and an inability to move stock off farm in a prompt way.
The UFU is demanding action to address the labour shortage in NI’ pig sector and the detrimental effect it is having on being able to process enough pigs a week.
Adding to the issue, pig processing firm Karro recently slashed the price of finished pigs.
According to the union other farming sectors are being hit by the worker shortage but the biggest hit is being taken by pig producers.
Victor Chestnutt, UFU president, said the county’s pig producers were being left to manage a significant backlog on the farm by themselves.
“This means bearing the cost of keeping and feeding stock ready for market, this is taking a toll on already slim margins;” he added.
“The inability to send pigs to slaughter at the appropriate time also risks these animals falling outside the specification required by the consumer and carries a further penalty to the farmer.”