Supermarkets 'playing Russian roulette with farm viability'

Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 01:00

The Irish Farmers’ Association has accused supermarkets that fail to return higher prices to producers of “playing Russian roulette with farm viability in the interests of preserving their own fat margins”.

IFA president John Bryan said the cost of producing food had escalated this year because of the difficult harvest at home and the US drought. Retailers must recognise the difficulties farmers are faced with by paying them a fair price for produce.

“Preliminary estimates indicate that farm incomes could be down by as much as 30 per cent for some sectors this year. The key input costs of feed, fertiliser and fuel have risen dramatically. Feed costs are currently up €60 per tonne on last year and rising, fertiliser costs are up 25 per cent and fuel costs are up 30 per cent on 2010 levels.” He said production across all sectors had been severely affected by the bad weather.

Milk yields were down, animals were not thriving and grain farmers and fruit and vegetable growers were seeing significant yield reductions.