Tesco Ireland will be maintaining the price it is currently paying to beef processors until June 2020, in an effort to support farmers.
The statement, which was made earlier this afternoon (Wednesday, April 1st), has been welcomed by farm organisations.
‘Attempting to further undervalue produce’
Commenting on the move, ICSA president, Edmond Phelan, said, “There is still massive demand for beef, both here and in the UK and this statement from Tesco Ireland provides clarity about that.
“What is less clear is why processors are cutting prices paid to farmers and attempting to further undervalue their produce by cheapening the product.”
“Of course, the price paid for beef is way below the cost-of-production and this will have to be addressed if consumers are to be guaranteed a long-term supply of quality-assured Irish beef.
The ICSA is urging processors to “stop playing games” and to sell beef at a "proper price" and ensure that there is no scarcity of beef at any time on supermarket shelves.
The farm organisation is now calling on all other major retailers to confirm that they will not be looking for discounted beef at a time when farmers are “working hard in difficult conditions to keep the supply chain going”.
“The statement from Tesco is to be welcomed and it reflects the fact that consumers are very keen for quality Irish livestock products. We want to see other retailers also acknowledge this.”
Following the last meeting of the Beef Taskforce, ICSA met with Tesco senior management and an “open line” of communication remains.
"Tesco have acknowledged the very real pressure that beef farmers are under due to Covid-19. It's time for our processors to show some solidarity too in these challenging times." Phelan concluded.
Cuts of 20c/kg
IFA president, Tim Cullinan is calling on all other major retailers to “make a similar price promise”. “Tesco is backdating this commitment to January. Processors have to step up and rewind the cuts of 20/c per kilo since COVID19 began,” he said.
He believes that the retailer should also extend the commitment across all food lines. “While the beef market was in turmoil, there were also huge price drops on lamb and real concern about other commodities,” he said.
“What we need is a concentrated effort across the supply chain to steady markets. I would call on meat processors to support farmers at this time,” the farm leader concluded.