The survey was conducted by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and was representative of producers of 75 per cent of the national sow herd, of which 43 per cent indicated that they would find it hard to continue without a pool of skilled workers. Such a loss of producers to the sector would have a ripple effect on the national economy of a potential €623m, as well as a potential reduction of €396m in annual exports, according to the IFA.
According to Roy Gallie, IFA national pig chair: “The Irish pig sector is facing a critical challenge as it grapples with acute shortages of skilled workers, which is negatively impacting productivity, growth, and the overall health of the industry,” he said.
The IFA has made a submission to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the issue and is urgently seeking an allocation of work permits for the pig sector, as well as for sectors covering horticulture, dairy, and poultry.
The IFA national pig chair said the pig sector's success is vital, not only for the farmers and workers directly involved, but also for the wider economy and the food-processing sector.
“To ensure the sustainable growth of the Irish pig sector, collaborative efforts from stakeholders, policymakers and Government are essential to ensure pig farmers can continue to source quality suitable employees for their farming operations,” he said.