Following a series of demonstrations outside of poultry processors and egg packing stations two weeks ago, farmers from the IFA National Poultry Committee have been meeting with retailers to highlight their plight.
IFA National Poultry Chairman Alo Mohan said “Farmers are at their wits end at this point, there is simply no way that we can continue in production. Input costs have increased exponentially every year and broiler producers have not secured one single cent since 2006.
“It is now the time for retailers to choose if they want to be able to offer their consumers an Irish product or if they are happy to stock their shelves solely with imports.<span> The real impact of this will hit when the Country of Origin labelling legislation is fully introduced and the consumer sees what has resulted from the squeeze for cheaper prices – Irish chicken will simply not be available on Irish shelves and there will be no way to get it back at that stage”.
“At the meetings with the retailers, we have outlined our cost of production and the small increase that is required to survive. It is incredible to think that the future of the industry is now down to a tiny increase of 7c/bird and 1c/egg for producers to cover their costs and make a margin. This however must be passed back intact from retailers to producers. In the past 12 months, increases from retailers have not found their way back to broiler farmers, but have been absorbed in the chain.”
Mr. Mohan said “we have already met with Aldi and Dunnes Stores and we want to see some constructive dialogue between the retailers and their suppliers, the processors and packers. Dunnes have promised to increase the level of traceability evident on chicken products and this is a very welcome development as consumers generally show a preference to support indigenous industry when they are provided with the opportunity to do so”.
“Irish farmers cannot continue to produce high quality product on prices that are below the cost of production. Retailers have responsibilities to primary producers. Chicken and eggs do not come from a factory, they come from farms and without the farms, there will be no Irish chicken and eggs” Mr. Mohan concluded.