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IFA President Joe Healy said the EU Commission’s announcement on greater price transparency as part of bringing greater fairness to the food chain is another important step in the campaign to give farmers a bigger share of the final consumer price.

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IFA WELCOMES SUPPORT FOR IRISH HORTICULTURE IN CLIMATE ACTION REPORT

Commenting in advance of the official launch of the report from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on climate action, IFA Horticulture Chairman Paul Brophy, has welcomed the recommendations regarding the expansion of the Irish Horticulture sector.

Agreeing with the findings of the report the chairman said there are opportunities for import substitution and farm diversification by directing increased resources to the sector. “For example, the expansion of our apple sector would both benefit the economy form reducing imports while also contributing to carbon sequestration. However, as the report pointed out there is a lack of investment in this area including the absence of a full time Teagasc advisor which has stymied its development”, he said.

The chairman added, that if the Irish Horticulture sector is to benefit commercially from the trend towards more plant-based diets then the government must implement policies to create a robust and sustainable sector. “To date the government has failed in this regard with its refusal to regulate against unsustainable discounting and to appoint an independent retail regulator to police the grocery market”, he said.

Paul Brophy concluded by acknowledging the positive contribution of the ‘Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of The Commercial Horticulture Sector’ to the industry. “The scheme is essential for the continued development and competitiveness of Irish horticulture and must be continued indefinitely post 2019 with an increased budget allocation”, he said.

 

IHNSA chairman Val Farrell has called on all garden centres and retailers to support the Irish amenity sector. Speaking at today’s national trolley fair in the National Show Centre, Swords he said the amenity sector is an important indigenous sector, worth €72 million at farm gate of which nursery stocks account for €50m. The Chairman also urged consumers to support the sector by purchasing Irish grown plants.

The IHNSA in conjunction with IFA and Bord Bia held its first trolley fair of the season on March 5th. The event marks the start of the Irish nursery stock season and it is highly regarded in the industry. Bord Bia launched the “Value of the Garden Market Report” at the fair, it shows that the value of the amenity market has grown by 9%, currently standing at €795m.

Val Farrell is urging all garden centres and retailers to support the event. The fair brings together key industry leaders and it is an excellent opportunity to showcase Irish produce.

The IHNSA Trolley Fairs are supported by IFA and Bord Bia.

More details can be found on the website http://www.trolleyfairs.com/

IFA Grain Committee Chairman Mark Browne has welcomed the positive announcements by Quinn’s of Baltinglass and Dairygold regarding the pricing of the 2019 field beans crop.

He has called on all feed merchants to show a similar commitment to the home production of protein crops.

Mark Browne said that 2018 was a very difficult year for bean production due to a late spring followed by a summer drought. This resulted in a reduction in area of 40% from 2017, combined with yield reductions of up to 70% in some areas.

The IFA Grain Committee Chairman said, “These prices should encourage tillage farmers to consider beans despite last year’s poor crops and reinstall confidence in the sector.”

“Government support for protein crops in the form of coupled payments is vital for the viability of this sector and this must continue under both the current CAP and post-2020,” said Mark Browne.

Addressing a protest at an M&S store in West Dublin today (14 December), IFA President Joe Healy accused the retailer of gross hypocrisy by slashing the price of fresh produce below the cost of production.

“I want to nail the lie that vegetable and potatoes can be sold below cost without hurting Irish growers and ultimately driving them out of business. Using farm produce as a tool to drive footfall undermines Irish production and the financial viability of specialist growers and producers. The number of field vegetable growers fell from 377 in 1999 to 165 in 2015, a drop of 56% and this trend has continued. Farmers have invested hugely in their businesses to ensure sufficient supplies of fresh Irish produce. This predatory pricing model takes the inherent value out of fresh produce lines, leaving it difficult to ensure sustainable farm gate prices and demeans the category in the minds of the consumer,” said Joe Healy.

The IFA President said, “It’s been a very tough year on producers, with significant extra costs because of the late Spring and the drought conditions during the summer. Reducing the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg sends a very misleading message to consumers regarding the costs, risks and skills associated with this sector.”

He pointed out the gross hypocrisy of this practice in light of M&S’s stated commitment to supporting the sector, “It is ironic that in the M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ programme they refer to sustainability and ethical standards. It begs the question as to what is ethical and sustainable about these predatory pricing tactics?”

The President also added that he was disappointed at the lack of support for Irish growers by M&S as he remarked at the number of vegetable lines in the store which were non-Irish.

Joe Healy said the Grocery Goods regulations introduced in 2016 totally neglected to address unsustainable discounting, and he re-iterated IFA’s call on the Enterprise Minister, Heather Humphreys T.D. to address this issue immediately.


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