IFA has blockaded the Tesco central distribution centre in Donabate, Co. Dublin as part of the ongoing farmer campaign for an increase in beef prices.
The protest will last 12 hours and follows similar action at the Aldi and Lidl central distribution centres last week.
IFA President Joe Healy said last week’s statement by Larry Goodman’s ABP group that they would increase prices, “bizarrely, contained no specific figure”.
“This is typical of the lack of transparency from meat factories.”
“From talking to farmers, it would seem that generally, the price rises appear to be 5c/kg for heifers and 10c/kg for steers.”
“This still leaves the Irish price well short of the Bord Bia EU Benchmark and it remains over 50c off the UK price as their market continues to strengthen.”
‘Pocketed the increases for themselves’
He noted that the UK price increased again last week, and sterling improved to 84p/€ last Friday.
“It is clear, based on market increases, that the factories, including ABP, could have increased cattle prices some weeks ago, but they did not.”
“Instead, they pocketed the increases for themselves and refused to pass it back to farmers. MII, representing the factories, adopted the same stalling tactic at the Beef Taskforce.”
Healy stressed that farmers are also appalled to see Tesco advertising ‘half-price’ beef in recent days. “This unsustainable discounting puts downward pressure on beef prices and is an insult to farmers and the work they do,” he said.
The farm organisation said it will continue with its action until they have a “substantial price increase”.
“We don’t have to wait until ‘price-setting Friday’, as ABP insisted in their press statement. This can happen any day.”
“This sort of controlling practice only serves to fuel the belief amongst farmers that ABP is abusing their dominant position in the market.”
Healy called on the other meat processors to “break from this practice” and announce a further price increase immediately, in line with increases in the market.
Image source: IFA \ website