IFA Meet Retailers to Highlight Cost Pressures Across Farm Sectors
IFA President Tim Cullinan has led delegations to meetings with retailers in the last week to highlight the severe loss-making situation for many farmers due to escalating costs.
“Poultry and pig farmers, along with many horticulture growers, are at crisis point. Without an immediate increase in returns, these sectors cannot continue without casualties,” he said.
IFA spelled out to retail management that using food, particularly from sectors under such severe financial strain, in cut-price promotions is very damaging and ultimately undermines the value of what farmers produce.
Tesco, SuperValu, Centra and Lidl management have all met and listened to IFA concerns around farmers’ production costs and the impact on the viability of farmers. These retailers have committed to engaging directly with their suppliers of Irish chicken, eggs, pork and bacon, along with fruit and vegetables growers, that they deal with.
A substantial portion of the produce from these three sectors is sold on the retail shelves in Ireland. “These important players in the retail sector have a vital role. They must now prove to farmers that they have not only listened, but that they will follow through on these engagements with suppliers and ensure that farmers’ costs are covered and they can afford to stay in business,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said that IFA would work with any retailer to try find solutions and that negotiations across the table were always the best way to achieve this. He noted that not all retailers have been as open to dialogue with IFA and they must not be found wanting when it comes to recognising the pressure farmers are under.
Both IFA Poultry Chairman Nigel Sweetnam and IFA Pigs Chairman Roy Gallie said the Government’s inaction on retail legislation has left the farmer without any power in the food chain. Every link in the food chain deserves to have its cost recognised and an ability to recoup these costs, or the Irish food production system will fail.
The retail grocery market in Ireland is dominated by five major retailers, controlling 90% of the market. Unless we have robust regulation of these retailers, we will see more and more farmers going to the wall.