‘Margins enjoyed by processors and retailers a mystery’ – IFA

Greater transparency is needed in the food chain if farmers are to get their share of the profits, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned.

The organisation’s president, Joe Healy, indicated today, Wednesday, May 22, that the recent announcement by the European Commission on price transparency will “bring greater fairness to the food chain”.

Separately, last December, IFA representatives appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to discuss a report commissioned by the farmer group on the importance of the suckler sector to Irish agriculture and the Irish economy.

At the time, the organisation’s livestock chairman, Angus Woods, urged the committee to work on transparency.

He said that one of the key problems in the sector centered around “a lack of transparency” which, he added, “builds a lack of trust between the parties involved. If there’s no transparency, there’s no trust”.

‘A fair share’

Meanwhile, Healy said that the latest announcement from the EU on price transparency served as another important step in the IFA’s campaign “to give farmers a bigger share of the final consumer price”.

While there is full transparency around what farmers are paid, and the final consumer price, the margins enjoyed by processors and retailers remain a mystery.

He continued: “Farmers find it incredibly frustrating that this information remains hidden from themselves and, indeed, from consumers. It’s time to lift the lid on this.”

Out in the open

The IFA’s president then pointed to whole areas of disclosure and the importance of ensuring that everything is out in the open.

“The refusal to disclose the margins only fuels suspicion that those acting between the farmer and the consumer are doing very well,” he added.

For consumers, food prices are now lower than they were in 2001.

“As part of my work in chairing the COPA Food Chain Working Group, I will be pursuing greater price transparency and working with European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to move it forward without delay.”