Members of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) are protesting against supermarket chain Tesco today.
The group are objecting to a requirement by Tesco that farmers should disclose detailed information from their accounts, as part of a new contract stipulation.
The protest, which involves a number of farmer representative organisations that are part of the FFE umbrella (Fairness for Farmers in Europe), is taking place at Tesco group headquarters outside London.
According to ICSA president Malcolm Thompson: "This new contract clause, which currently applies to British farmer milk suppliers to Tesco UK, is the thin end of the wedge.
"ICSA is deeply concerned that this clause must be opposed before it becomes the norm for all suppliers of farm produce to Tesco, not just in the UK but in Ireland as well.
"I want to send a very clear signal to Tesco and other retailers that Irish farmers will not wear any such demands. It is absolutely unacceptable that Tesco should demand the disclosure of detailed information on costs and profitability from a farmer’s accounts to any third party agency.
"The clear implication is that Tesco is looking for justification to squeeze farmer margins even more. Such information is a private matter for farm families and is commercially sensitive.
"I don’t see Tesco offering open and transparent information on how much margin they are making on farm products such as milk, beef or lamb. But we do know that the farmer’s share of the final retail price has dropped substantially over the past 25 years and this is the primary reason why so many farmers are no longer able to make a fair living.
"This indicates clearly that farmers’ margins have been squeezed to the point of no return and this trend coincides with the increasing dominance of the retail trade across Europe by a handful of very dominant multinationals."