Responding to a statement issued by Tesco, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) president Joe Healy said: “The cost of any special promotions – whether that’s on vegetables or meat – invariably comes back to the farmer.”

Speaking to AgriLand at the IFA protest outside Musgrave’s distribution centre in Kilcock, Co. Kildare, this morning, Tuesday, December 10, Healy said: “The retailer and the processors have to make a profit.

“However, the farmer is the price taker at the end of the line; and so, it’s the farmer that’s carrying the tab on those special promotions.”

Tesco’s statement was issued yesterday in response to an IFA blockade outside its distribution centre in Donabate.

A spokesperson for the retail giant outlined that its beef prices for customers are “not related” to those paid to farmers.

Also Read: Customer price for beef ‘not related to price farmers receive’ – Tesco

Continuing, the outgoing IFA president said: “This is unsustainable discounting from the farmers’ point of view.

The retailers can talk all they like about corporate responsibility and sustainability but I’d like to remind them that it is the farmer that does the work on the ground and produces the best raw material for them.

Healy called on Irish retailers not to “abuse or insult” Irish farm produce and “not to insult the farmer with the prices that are being passed back to them at the moment”.

“Expecting farmers to continue to produce beef at over 50c/kg below the cost of production is just not sustainable and that’s where the corporate and social responsibility should start.”

A price rise

The IFA president expressed optimism that further price rises are on the horizon.

He said: “There has to be a further price rise because the Bord Bia price index has shown this very, very clearly.”

He explained when the first price index came out, it showed “there was a gap of 17c/kg between the Irish and the EU average price and a 45c/kg gap between Ireland and the UK; this time last week that gap had opened to 20c and 50c respectively and has increased further in the past week”.

Concluding, Healy said: “We need to see that difference passed back to Irish farmers and we need more than the derisory offer that was made last Friday by the ABP group.”