Over 130,000 farmers and their families will be working this Christmas Day to provide food for Irish consumers.
However, IFA President Joe Healy has said that discounted prices for meat and vegetables in the supermarket chains this Christmas were unsustainable.
“What we saw in pre-Christmas offers by the big five retailers will put more farmers and growers out of business,” he said.
“Effectively, the retailers are in a race to the bottom where all supermarkets move their food prices to the lowest available in the market, regardless of the consequences for farmers and growers,” he said.
“Horticulture growers are particularly vulnerable as they have perishable seasonal product and they have no choice but to take the immediate price offered by the retailers,” he said.
“We now have a situation where we have only a handful of growers in this country for most vegetables. This is a direct result of downward pressure on prices driven by retail competition,” he said.
“Supermarkets are discounting food to drive footfall. While this may appear good for consumers, it’s not sustainable and it’s driving growers out of business to the point where some vegetables are no longer grown in Ireland,” he said.
“This whole situation needs an urgent review. We must re-instate the ban on below cost selling and introduce a grocery code regulator who will look at fairness in the food chain,” he said.