14 AUGUST 2020
ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has slammed Meat Industry Ireland (MII) for implying that farmers would have to bear the cost of any future factory closures or disruptions due to Covid-19 testing delays. “Farmers are used to processors using any excuse in the book to cut prices, but there is no reason why disruption caused by testing delays should lead to price cuts,” he said. Mr Graham was referring to the exchange of views at the Oireachtas Covid committee, in which MII suggested that testing delays could impact prices paid to farmers.
“We know that consumer demand hasn’t dropped and that most factories complain about having surplus capacity. The slack could therefore easily be taken up by factories where testing has been completed without imposing further hardship on farmers. This was an opportunity for processors to show some solidarity with their suppliers but instead they just threatened to undermine their livelihoods yet again.”
“Farmers have again been put into the most vulnerable of positions which once more highlights the need for a regulator with full powers to examine the practices of meat plants. Retailers too must be called to task for their cheap food policies and continuous discounting of basic foods such as meat and vegetables. ICSA is clear that excess profiteering by processors and retailers at the expense of primary producers must be stopped. The time has come for farmers to receive their fair share of the final retail price and all measures to ensure this happens must be put in place.”