Donie Shine, national chairman of the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group (IFRG), has slammed the current IFA blockades at retail distribution depots for being “nothing more than a publicity stunt and a credit-grabbing exercise" for beef price rises.
He stressed that beef price increases are due on foot of "the efforts of others" and market developments.
Shine said that the four-movement rule is one of the reasons for the “poor prices that farmers have been getting from factories in the first place”.
He referred to this rule as the “long-standing arrangement between the IFA and Meat Industry Ireland (MII)".
Mr Shine believes that the four-movement rule was “arbitrarily contrived” by one large multiple grocery retailer and by one large multiple food retailer on the “spurious grounds” that it promoted animal welfare.
“It is no surprise that the IFA agreed to this arrangement because Meat Industry Ireland is the principal collection agent of levies from farmers for and on behalf of that association.”
The “King's Shilling”
"The current strategy of the IFA to 'steal the clothes' of others that have worked hard over the last 12 months to get better prices, shows that they have no more to offer the farmer now than any other farmer organisation has to offer," Shine added.
He believes that this exposes the organisation as “being no longer able to negotiate on behalf of farmers because of the conflicting interests getting in its own way such as the association's reliance on “the king's shilling” or its reliance on the levies that the meat industry collects and has collected for it over the years”.
“The IFA can no longer negotiate better terms for farmers across a negotiating table from the meat industry or from retailers because the meat industry and retailers know exactly the hand that the IFA is holding.”
“If farmer organisations were poker players, then the IFA is holding a hand no better than a busted flush."
"The “sharks” (the meat factories, the retailers and others making a living off the backs of farmers) sitting around the poker table know this but the association continues to play its hand like a shark would, bluffing with nothing, not because it's fooling anybody around the table - it knows it's not.
"It's because of the many farmers watching the game from the gallery, who still believe that it can play the game in their best interests and who continue to fund the association's game playing with levies deducted from their hard-earned and often scant farm incomes.”
Image source: IFA