The beef industry is asymmetric, it’s an oligopoly – that’s according to Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín TD, who addressed the farmers’ protest in Dublin yesterday (Wednesday, January 15th).
He said that a small number of “very large factories have massive buyer power and control all the conditions of sale”.
“Tens of thousands of small farmers have no supplier power and have no influence over price or conditions.” he stressed.”
“One factory owner made €170 million in profit last year, is tax resident in Luxembourg, paying 0.5% tax and has assets worth €3.5 billion.”
“That factory owner expects each farmer in Ireland to provide cattle at his gates at a loss.”
Supermarkets, Tóibín added, are making “supernormal profits”.
‘Into poverty, debt and off the land’
He said that by participating in this market, farmers are making a loss. “The average wage for a farmer is now between €8,000 and €10,000. It is only this level because of the subsidy.”
“This lower than the pension. The subsidy is 140% of their income. Think about that. The farmer would make more money if he or she stopped producing.”
“This crisis is pushing tens of thousands of farmers into poverty, debt and off the land, so hundreds of millions of euro can be funnelled into the hands of the factory owners.”
Farmers, he concluded, must use this election to “clear out those who are doing damage”.