9 DECEMBER 2019
ICSA president Edmond Phelan has expressed amazement at the statement made by TESCO in response to the IFA protest at its distribution centre in which it claims that the price paid by consumers in their shops is unrelated to the price paid to the primary producer.
“TESCO and other retailers cannot wash their hands of the issue of farmers being forced to work for less than the cost of production. The additional statement that TESCO pays for any promotions is particularly of interest given that the ICSA heifer experiment suggests that retailers and processors share a mark-up before costs of some €1,500 for a heifer that was bought from the farmer at little over €1,200, where that beef is sold at non-discounted price.”
“For many years retailers have supported fair trade coffee but it is shocking that they don’t give a damn about primary producers of beef on their own doorstep. The relentless focus on driving down price is part of the problem, but it is also the insistence that farmers are entitled to less than half the retail price after a process of breeding and feeding that takes three years. Then within three weeks, the processors carve up the majority of the value of the animal for themselves.”
“It is simply not good enough that retailers who have enormous influence on the food chain can try to dodge their responsibilities. ICSA believes that the low prices in 2019 are a reflection of aggressive procurement policies by both retailers and processors which are pushing farmers to the brink of bankruptcy and many farmers in meat production are in a state of despair.”
“Meanwhile, TESCO cannot ague that it needs to squeeze ever more money out of farmers. The third biggest supermarket chain in the world has posted global profits of over €2.5 billion and has total revenues in Ireland of some €2.6 billion. Farmers are supplying beef to help multinational retailers at a massive loss, and this cannot continue.”
“It is now time for beef price to move above €4/kg in order to prevent any further haemorrhaging of money by Irish beef farmers. Supermarkets who sell Irish beef at current farm-gate price are not supporting farmers, they are exploiting them,” concluded Mr Phelan.