IFA Deputy President Tim O Leary led a protest of beef and sheep farmers at Tesco, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores retail outlets in Galway today (Tues) accusing supermarket retailers and processors of profiteering on the back excessive beef and lamb price cuts to livestock farmers.
The IFA Deputy President, National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey and National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns were joined by sheep and beef farmers in the protest over unacceptable cuts in factory lamb and beef prices. Tim O Leary said, “Retailers have a corporate responsibility to ensure their farmer suppliers are paid a viable price that covers the costs of production and leaves a reasonable margin.”
John Lynskey said, “The farmer price for top quality lamb has been slashed from €5.70/kg to quotes of €4.80/kg/kg in a matter of just two weeks. This is a price cut of close to €20 per lamb and will wipe almost all the farmer’s margin for his entire years’ work in just a few days”.
The IFA Sheep farmer’s leader said, “This type of price cutting by factories and retailers, ahead of the market, is totally unacceptable. Farmers are demanding to know where the money has gone and who is taking the margin. There is real frustration on the ground at farm level when farmers see processors cutting prices and then they look at the price in the supermarkets”.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said beef prices have been cut by up to 20% or 80c/kg since this time last year. This amounts to a cut of over €300 per animal and has left beef farmers with severe financial losses. He said “Factories have treated farmers very unfairly this year, imposing price cutting specification changes and torn up the agreement they had with their suppliers on the Quality Payment System”.
Henry Burns said IFA has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to tackle both the meat factories and the retailers, and insist that they honour the agreement they had with farmers on the QPS and drop their unfair dual pricing, age and weight specification penalties.
The IFA Livestock Leader said retailers must realise and accept that beef farmers are in a very difficult income situation and the severe cuts to beef prices has left the sector in an unviable position going forward. “This has to change. Teagasc have made it clear beef farmers need a price of at least €4.00/kg just to cover costs and make a small margin.”