IFA President John Bryan has accused meat processors and supermarket retailers of profiteering on the back of livestock farmers, who took part in a protest at Tesco, Supervalu and Aldi outlets in Maynooth, Co Kildare this afternoon (Tues).
John Bryan led members of the IFA Executive Council from their monthly meeting in Dublin earlier today to Maynooth, where they were joined by livestock and sheep farmers in the protest over unacceptable cuts in factory quotes in recent weeks. He said, “The latest cuts to beef prices have generated deep anger among farmers, who see this as the main processors getting together with the retailers to push down the price paid to producers. This is coming at a time when our main market, the UK, is paying nearly €5/kg. There was very strong criticism of the cuts at today’s Executive Council meeting, and a unanimous view that IFA has to send a clear message that there is no justification for the level of price cuts”.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the factories have crossed the line with the latest price cut and he warned that there had to be repercussions. He said farmers will not let the factories undermine cattle prices further at a time when prices in our main export market in the UK are the equivalent of €4.97/kg, and rising. He said the price gap with the UK is now at a €1/kg or up to €370 per animal, which is unprecedented.
Following one of the most difficult winter and spring periods on record with a severe fodder crisis Henry Burns said farmers have encountered major cost increases and are left with large bills to pay. “It is critical livestock farmers have a period of strong stable and profitable cattle prices to overcome these challenges and recover.”
The IFA livestock leader accused the meat factories of inflicting serious damage on the beef sector again with their unjustified price cuts. He said, “At a time when the Taoiseach, the Minister for Agriculture and the IFA are working hard to find a way to support the beef sector and our valuable suckler cow herd, it is incredible that the factories would undermine cattle prices in this way”.
Henry Burns said, “Market demand is solid, and in some cases has risen. These latest cuts are seen as profiteering by the factories and retailers at a time when the numbers of cattle coming off grass are more plentiful. The uncertainty created by the factories will do nothing to instil confidence in the suckler sector, which is under major pressure at this time”.