ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said the payment of a significant aid subsidy to pig farmers is another example of the government having to provide financial support to farmers due to inaction on the substantial issue of ensuring primary producers get a fair price for their produce. “Farmers are not receiving a fair share of the end retail price, and this is where the problem starts and ends,” he said.
“It has been apparent for a long time that processors and retailers are making massive profits at the expense of low-income farmers. This is why ICSA has continuously argued for mechanisms to be put in place that would allow for greater transparency along the entirety of food chain. Excess profiteering must be exposed, and farmers must get a fair share of the retail price.”
“This will only be achieved with establishment of a regulator with sufficient powers to compel major players to co-operate. We can have stakeholder meeting after stakeholder meeting about this, but the reality is that without the ability to compel processors and retailers to be more transparent about their margins it will not happen.”
“The penny must drop that we cannot keep paying farmers unsustainably low prices that do not cover the basic cost of production. It is incumbent on our own government – and for all EU member states – to legislate properly for fairness for the primary producer. This is now more urgent than ever given the way input costs have risen so steeply in recent months. If this issue is not tackled, and farmers do not get enough out of the marketplace, the spectre of continued rounds of emergency aid for farmers will have no end.”
Mr Kelleher said he hoped that the bureaucracy around the emergency aid being given to pig farmers will be kept to a minimum. “It is important that lessons are learned from the excess conditionality placed on beef farmers through the emergency aid BEAM Scheme.”