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Oct 17, 2017 | Press Releases | 0 comments

16 OCTOBER 2017

ICSA president Patrick Kent says that the food chain needs to be much more transparent if farmers are to have any chance of making a viable return in most farm enterprises. “The EU must tackle the inherent lack of balance in the food chain. Farmers spend three years producing beef cattle, processors spend three week getting it to the shelf and it takes the retailers three days to sell it, yet farmers are the only ones not making a profit.”

“What is needed is compulsory audits of the food chain at EU level to see what margins are being made at processor and retailer level on key farm commodities such as meat, bread and dairy. We have very clear transparency around average farm margins but have very little information on what margins are being made by processors and retailers.”

“It is not good enough that companies who have such a central role in determining what consumers eat and how much they pay can hide behind opaque structures and keep their accounts out of public scrutiny. Most companies are required to publish accounts but processors are avoiding this by private company structures. On the other hand, multinational giants in the retailing sector, by virtue of the huge turnover in millions of products, can hide how much they make off the backs of farmers.”

“This has to change. We have seen farmers squeezed more and more over the years and this has coincided with increasing concentration of processing and retailing in the hands of a few, dominant operators.”

“The EU Commission needs to take the lead by regulating this. ICSA was the first farm organisation to call for regulation and we want to see an EU authority being given the powers to audit the big players in processing and retailing with a view to publishing average margins across the sectors and with a view to calling to account businesses that engage in excess profiteering at the expense of both farmer and consumer.”


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ICSA president Sean McNamara has said the decision by the EU Council of Environment ministers to pass the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) today will cause serious unease amongst many Irish farmers. “As it stands, we have no clarity around how this law will be implemented in Ireland and what the consequences will be, especially for those on peaty soils. It is yet another example of an initiative being imposed on farmers that is heavy on targets and light on how those targets will be met or how they will be funded,” he said.

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