IFA President Tim Cullinan said an immediate price increase is needed for potato growers to offset rising input costs.
Speaking after a well-attended National Potato Growers’ meeting in Dublin last night, Tim Cullinan said the current wholesale price to farmers is not covering the full cost of production and storage of potatoes.
“All in the chain have to work to deliver a price increase, but there is a clear responsibility on the retailers, in particular, to return a sustainable margin to growers,” he said.
The IFA President said without a price increase, growers questioned the viability of continuing to supply the retail sector.
“The anger and frustration from the floor last night is a direct result of retailer dominance in the marketplace. This dominant position has been one of the main causes of the continuing contraction of our horticulture sector.”
“The average rate of food inflation rose by 16.3% last year. However, the retail price of potatoes only increased by 1.4%. The new Food Regulator must be established without further delay,” he said.
Potato farmers are exporting potatoes to Portugal and Holland at the moment as they cannot afford to continue to store their crops at a loss.
IFA National Potato Chairman Sean Ryan said that many potato farmers will be forced out of business unless the packers and retailers are willing to increase returns to their farmer suppliers. Commercial potato farming is simply not viable this year with the increase in land rental, fertiliser, fuel and storage costs.