War of words

Meat price protests

For the second time in as many weeks, the country’s farmers are picketing meat factories in protest against low cattle prices. Unsurprisingly, money is at the root of this convoluted controversy in which each side has resorted to attacking the other in an increasingly bitter war of words.

In what amounts essentially to a squabble over fine margins involving the wide gap what farmers here are getting for meat compared to their counterparts in Britain, each side is busy peddling conflicting figures to support its own case. What is patently clear is that tensions between producers, processors, distributors, and supermarket retailers of meat have gone way beyond breaking point.

The difficulty is that, until the main protagonists are prepared to make concessions, it is hard to see how a mutually acceptable solution can be hammered out. With factory profits and jobs plus family farm incomes at stake, it is clear the time has come for someone to knock heads together. Despite claims of much progress during intensive talks, everyone is waiting for the other to blink.

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