A farm organisation has dismissed claims by Meat Industry Ireland that the outlook for sheep is "so negative".
ICSA sheep chairman, Sean McNamara, said he views this as the “usual” scaremongering to try and “beat farmers into submission”.
“We see New Zealand lamb continues to be stocked in supermarkets and yet we are told there is minimal demand for Irish product.”
“However, that does not equate with reports of supermarkets in Ireland and the UK running out of product."
“We are facing into Easter where demand for lamb should be strong and this will be followed on April 23rd by Ramadan which continues until May 23rd.” he added.
This, he added, will underpin demand for sheepmeat; he outlined that there is also the potential for a “pent-up” demand for product when Covid restrictions are eased across Europe, although there is uncertainty surrounding this, as of yet.
“Hoggets are scarce and spring lamb is a bit behind on a lot of farms after some hard weather. So, farmers shouldn’t listen to all the doom-mongering.”
He said that the bottom line, which must be borne in mind, is that farmers have worked very hard throughout the spring and kept going during the Covid-19 crisis to keep supermarket shelves full.
“However, now more than ever, they should not be treated with complete contempt by processors and retailers.”
“Farmers have to make a margin or else there just won’t be quality-assured lamb in EU markets for much longer,” McNamara concluded.