IFA is holding simultaneous protests outside Dunnes Stores in Cork and Monaghan today to highlight the failure of the retail sector to give price increases to suppliers to address cost increases at farm level.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said it was very disappointing that Dunnes Stores had ignored IFA’s request for a meeting. “The pig, poultry and horticulture sectors are in meltdown and retailers need to act responsibly,” he said.
“We met other retailers in the last week to highlight the severe loss-making situation for many farmers due to escalating costs. However, Dunnes Stores has not even responded to IFA requests for a meeting,” he said.
Tesco, SuperValu, Centra and Lidl management have met and listened to IFA concerns around farmers’ production costs and the impact on the viability of farmers.
A substantial portion of the output from these 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’ cost increases are covered and they can afford to stay in business,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said the Government’s inaction on retail legislation to introduce the long-promised Food Ombudsman has left farmers 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.