‘Unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out.’
Sligo News File.
The ICSA have taken their protest over beef prices to the door of Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis just weeks after similar demonstration outside ABP in Clones.
Commenting on the move, chairman of the Association’s national beef committee Edmund Graham said beef sector producers “have been crucified by beef price cuts” in a year when substantial extra costs were incurred owing to extreme weather conditions.
He said farmers had faced “an orchestrated effort to drive down beef prices over several weeks,” but the price cutting had now stopped since the ICSA took action against the practice on the 5th of October.
Explaining the reason for the ongoing protest, he said the association “now want to drive price back up and no farmer should dream of selling steers this week at less than €3.85.
“Current prices are totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd, he said. The suckler herd is not profitable unless the price is closer to €5/kg.
President of the Association, Patrick Kent said the ICSA was sending a very clear message to retailers that beef farmers were being exploited.
“There will be no hiding place for retailers now who claim they are supporting farmers. Retailers cannot boast about sustainable beef and then profiteer when farmers are not even getting the cost of production.
“Retailers and processors need to wake up to the fact that there will be no sustainable beef if they continue to squeeze the primary producer.
“ICSA is calling for a halt to the exploitation of family farms.”
He also hit out at the failure of new international markets to deliver strong prices for farmers.
“Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.”
“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated. This is the second day of action and unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out,” he warned.