IFA President Eddie Downey has called on retailers to recognise the investment made by strawberry and fruit growers in this country, by ensuring that fresh fruit is seen on retail shelves as a premium quality product and not used as a loss leader in retail wars.
Marking National Strawberry Week (4th-10th June) on Pat Clarke’s Fruit Farm in Stamullen, Co. Meath, Eddie Downey said, “Ireland’s 100 strawberry growers produce a crop worth €38 million at the farm gate, with production expected to reach 8,000 tonnes this year”.
“Growers have made sizeable capital investments on their farms to extend the production season which now provides fresh fruit to the Irish consumer from April right through to November. While sales of fruit are growing in volume, there is ongoing concern at the decline in the value of the crop, as a result of pressure from retailers.”
He said, “IFA is actively involved in the monitoring of proper labelling of fruit both on retail shelves and in road-side sales. Only by regular monitoring and reporting of issues to the Department of Agriculture can a resolution to non-identifiable produce be achieved”. Eddie Downey called on consumers to check for the country-of-origin when buying fruit, and to support Irish production.