Irish egg and poultrymeat producers have staged a series of protests outside processors and packing stations over the failure of the supply chain to pay them a price that covers their costs.
“We have to highlight the difficulties on poultry farms,” said Irish Farmers Association poultry chairman Alo Mohan ahead of one of the demonstrations at egg packer Greenfield Foods, Co Cavan. “The situation is so serious on some poultry farms that soon they will have no option but to close their doors indefinitely. This will result in chicken being sourced from countries that do not meet our standards, and jobs and economic activity will be lost.”
According to the IFA, producers need just an extra 7c a bird and 1c a egg, passed from retailer directly back to producer, to secure their future. “At present, farmers get as little as 35c a bird and 10c a egg.”
Mr Mohan said, “In general, Irish supermarkets carry a large quantity of Bord Bia Quality Assured Chicken, but producers have not secured any increase to cover increased costs of production. Input prices have rocketed and, although the processors have received some increase through the chain, the farmer has received nothing at all. This is causing severe hardship.”
He claims that producers have been forced into supply contracts with processors that are completely inequitable in an effort to stay in production.
“The retailers know how desperate the processors are to maintain market share and use this opportunity to engage in price wars. Processors, although the weaker party, have played their part by acquiescing to the demands of retailers and continually pushing the cost increases back on producers.”