Talks of imminent protests outside a number of retailers who are currently using below cost of production pricing strategies to sell vegetables is being discussed.

This is according to Gerard Reilly, horticulture chairman of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).

Speaking to AgriLand this morning, he said this selling strategy was a big issue for farmers.

“Retailers sell a product for a price below the cost of production to get the product in, but it’s the product that is being sacrificed at the end of the day.

“Protests in supermarkets are a very effective way to demonstrate. Farmers in the IFA are prepared to visit every site in the country if needs be to protest and get the word out there. All producers are looking for is a level price, we cannot afford to be making dips.”

Meanwhile commercial vegetable grower Matt Foley of Kilbush Nurseries in county Dublin said he was hugely disappointed in current price structures at a number of retailers.

“The fact that food is given away for free effectively degrades the value of food, the stuff people put into their mouths. It gives people the perception that food can be produced for nothing. All that effort does not come cheap. It is very disappointing.”

Speaking to AgriLand, a Cavan-based commercial mushroom grower, who wished to remain anonymous, said his company stands firm on promotion agreements. The grower has a number of significant contracts with Irish discounters and their UK counterparts.

“We don’t participate in promotions. We don’t reduce our price even though a number of retailers would try and force us to,” he said.

“We do not entertain promotions just to gain a short-term greater market share. We see vegetables selling for five cent and six cent a kilo which is ridiculous.”

He is calling on producers not to tolerate promotion price contracts.

“If producers are willing to drop their price they are fools…margins need to be maintained to survive. This is not price fixing, it’s the reality of the commercial sector.”

Currently IFA crisis talks are under way today at the Farm Centre in Dublin.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Retail Ireland, who represents a large number of supermarkets across the country, said it was not in a position to discuss prices. “You have to ask each individual supermarket to comment on their own prices,” he added.

Retailers response and pricing report to follow

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