IRELAND, Portlaoise. The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) called on meat processors to stop cutting prices for already struggling producers and to show solidarity with their suppliers.
ICSA Beef chair Edmund Graham criticised meat factories for daring to slash prices while input costs are hammering primary producers. “The Agricultural Price Indices released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) this week show just how much our costs have increased over the past year. It is profoundly disturbing to see meat processors doing their utmost to push down prices when farmers are grappling with costs of production that are completely out of control,” said Graham.
According to the CSO, feed prices have gone up by 34.2%, energy costs have risen by 51.3%, and the price of fertiliser is up by a staggering 133.8% compared to summer 2021.
Graham added, “Right now, our primary producers – particularly those in the low-income sheep, suckler, and beef sectors – are facing a perfect storm with costs continuing to rise while factories appear ever more determined to pay producers as little as possible. It is quite simple; we need to be getting more for our produce, not less.”
“It is a mistake to believe that farmers can shoulder these additional costs and stay in business. It is time for meat processors to show some solidarity with their suppliers. It is also time for the retailers, consumers, and the government to get to grips with the reality that food cannot be produced out of thin air,” warned the chairman.
Back in August, Graham had already urged cattle farmers not to accept the low beef prices that did not reflect the rising prices on the mainland due to tight supplies.
“Factories have been conditioning farmers to accept lower prices, but the reality is that supplies are tight, and factories are actively seeking cattle. There is no reason to accept prices as low as €4.80-€4.90/kg. The cost of inputs has not dropped, and there are reasons to be very worried that costs could get worse before they get better,” said Graham.
Source: The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association