Farmers yesterday staged protests outside retail outlets in Kerry, accusing supermarkets and processors of "profiteering" on the back of excessive beef and lamb price cuts to livestock farmers.
County IFA chairman Sean Brosnan led the protests which targeted Tesco, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores outlets in Tralee.
He said retailers had a corporate responsibility to ensure farmer suppliers are paid a viable price that covers the costs of production and leaves a reasonable margin.
“The farmer’s price for top-quality lamb has been slashed from €5.70/kg to quotes of €4.80/kg in a matter of just two weeks. This is a price cut of close to €20 per lamb and will wipe out almost all the farmer’s margin for his entire year’s work in just a few days,” Mr Brosnan claimed.
“This type of price cutting by factories and retailers, ahead of the market, is totally unacceptable.”
He said farmers were demanding to know where the money has gone and who was taking the margin.
“There is real frustration on the ground at farm level when farmers see processors cutting prices and then they look at the price in the supermarkets,” he said.
Mr Brosnan also asserted beef prices had been cut by up to 20% since this time last year, amounting to a fall of over €300 per animal and leaving beef farmers with severe financial losses.
The IFA has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to tackle meat factories and retailers on issues of concern to farmers.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved