Following a week of protests outside distribution centres of major retailers in Ireland, Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president Joe Healy accused retail chain Dunnes Stores of “being part of a race to the bottom” with its discounting policy that he said has a direct and negative impact on the prices farmers get for their produce.
On Wednesday, the IFA blockaded the depot at Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt in Dublin.
“Dunnes Stores has no problem in discounting their beef by 40%,” he said. “Worse, Dunnes thinks it’s not a problem for farmers. If anybody believes the retailer takes the full hit in these discounting campaigns, they are living in cloud cuckoo land. This week, IFA made a submission for stronger retail legislation, including the establishment of an independent regulator who will take on the retail bosses. It cannot happen soon enough, assuming the Government is prepared to stand up and take on the powerful interests which dominate the food chain.”
Healy said that Irish farmers are overdue a significant beef price increase. According to the latest Bord Bia Beef Price Index, the gap between Irish prices and its main export markets has widened again. It now stands at 21c/kg, up from 20c/kg the previous week. This gap has increased from 5c/kg in mid-October to 21c/kg last week.
“The facts are the factories have pocketed these market improvements over the last five to six weeks and the Bord Bia Price Index proves this,” he said. “Factories don’t have to wait for ‘price-setting Friday’ as stated by ABP in their press release last week. They should increase prices today and we are driving home the message to retailers. Tell your suppliers to treat farmers fairly.”