A large number of angry pig, poultry and beef farmers have staged a protest outside Tesco in Cavan town today (Fri) over the failure of retailers to return a viable price through the food chain to producers whose livelihoods are threatened because of mounting losses.
The farmers say the retail sector continues to enjoy high margins, while refusing to address the rising costs of production impacting across all sectors – pig, poultry, beef, milk and egg producers – as world grain market prices soar.
“Retailers had better deal with this issue urgently as hundreds of local farm businesses are making significant losses while supermarkets enjoy margins of over 40% on their produce.”
In a clear warning to the retail sector, they said producer prices must increase immediately as thousands of local, on-farm jobs are in jeopardy. “Retail bosses have a responsibility to ensure that a fair price is returned to processors so primary producers can survive. A clear example of the rip-off is the price of pork. Pig producers are getting €1.34/kg and it sells for €7 on the supermarket shelves.”
IFA National Poultry Chairman Alo Mohan said retailers which do not support Irish products are putting thousands of jobs at risk. “Some retailers are currently sourcing over 80% of their chicken products from outside of the Republic, while controlling almost one third of the retail shelf space. Irish consumers want to support local producers, but they are not always being given the opportunity to purchase poultry products from the Republic.”
IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said, “We are seeing the destruction of jobs in local towns where too many retailers are competing viciously for market share.<span> Stores are now selling pig meat products below the cost of production and seriously undermining Irish food producers to boost their own profits.”</span>
“When input costs for primary production increased in the past, the food chain including farmers and retailers absorbed the increased costs. However, this year feed prices have increased at primary level by over 30% and retailers continue to profit while producers go broke.”