Both Bord Bia and the Irish Dairy Board will have to up the ante in respect of their agri food marketing campaigns, as Irish farmers strive to deal with the challenge of price volatility, according to IFA President Eddie Downey.
He said that the purchasers of all farm produce and those charged with marketing Ireland’s green, clean, grass-based image, especially Bord Bia, must overhaul their marketing strategy to help secure stable and viable prices from the market place.
Downey said it was an increasing concern for hard-working farm families, who are delivering the top quality produce demanded, that the prices they receive are so exposed to the extremes of world commodity markets and retailer dominance.
“Bord Bia needs to urgently reflect on its marketing strategy, especially in the UK, where currently our quality Irish beef and pork are being traded at a significant discount to UK domestically-farmed produce,” he said.
The IFA President also confirmed that he was seriously concerned that the price gap for beef and pork between Ireland and the UK has widened significantly in the past year and this must be addressed.
“Our marketing agencies and processors must develop innovative strategies to get across the message to consumers in the UK and elsewhere on the top quality and provenance of Irish food.
“There is no justification for the price difference based on the quality of Irish produce versus the prices available in the marketplace. For example, if Scotland can secure a substantial premium for its beef in the UK market, then Ireland must aim to do likewise.”
Downey also pointed out that farm product price volatility had to be addressed and the Irish Dairy Board and co-ops had to intensify their efforts to secure premium markets and fixed price contracts to benefit dairy farmers.
“It is very difficult for farm families to cope with extremes in the milk prices they receive, especially when the cost of production is going in the opposite direction,” he said.