The Irish Farmers’ Association is to consider its next move in the campaign for improved beef prices for farmers at a meeting of the organisation’s national council on Friday.
IFA president, Joe Healy has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately call in beef processors and retailers to "drive home" the message.
It followed a meeting between the IFA and Mr Creed in Dublin on Thursday at which the crisis in the beef sector was the main item on the agenda.
“Farmers are angry that Irish beef prices lag behind the Bord Bia export benchmark prices by over 20 cent per kilogramme and behind the UK price by 50c/kg,” Mr Healy said.
Protesting farmers concluded a 30-hour demonstration outside Dunnes Stores flagship outlet in Cornelscourt in south Dublin on Thursday evening.
It followed blockades of central distribution centres for other large supermarket groups, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Musgraves in recent weeks.
The IFA pointed out new figures compiled by the Irish Farmers’ Journal which indicated that retailers were engaged in excessive profiteering at a time when farm gate prices were “on the floor”.
The report indicated that supermarket could earn profits of up to 45 per cent on fresh meat.
Mr Healy said the prices paid to farmers were unsustainable.
“The Minister needs to get on the pitch to tell the processors and the retailers that this cannot continue,” the IFA president said.
Mr Creed said he believed farmers should be paid the maximum price the market would allow.
“Positive engagement through producer organisations and the Beef Market Task Force is in my view the best way to progress farmers’ interests,” Mr Creed said.