IFA President John Bryan has said he was appalled at the tactics of the Competition Authority, whose officers raided the Irish Farm Centre this morning and attempted to close down IFA on foot of allegations by retailers against farmers trying to make a livelihood in liquid milk.
An angry John Bryan said, “It is totally unacceptable that taxpayers’ money is being wasted to target farm families struggling to cope with increased costs and collapsing margins for their milk, while the retail multiples pillage the profits out of the food supply chain, screwing both suppliers and consumers. Farmers will be disgusted that the Competition Authority is clearly backing greedy retailers and turning a blind eye to their abuse of suppliers.”
He said it is incredible that the Competition Authority would deploy a large team of 15 officers in a smash-and-grab raid regarding the supply of milk to retailers, instead of using their resources to tackle the multiples. “The facts are: the farmer share of the consumer price of liquid milk is at the lowest level ever, and to suggest that farmers have any power over the retail multiples is nonsense.”
IFA have highlighted time and again the inequity in the food supply chain, where powerful retailers dictate the terms and put the livelihoods of producers under threat. The Competition Authority continues to ignore the substantial margins enjoyed by the retailers and the lack of competition in the grocery market. Today’s action will be seen by farmers as a direct attack on primary producers, and can be contrasted with the incompetence of regulators in dealing with financial institutions and others who have devastated the country.”
John Bryan called on the Government and the Minister for Innovation, Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton to intervene immediately and to put a stop to this charade. Concluding he said, “Regulation to control the predatory behaviour of the retail multiples is long overdue and farmers’ patience on this issue is fast running out.”