Irish chicken farmers have urged supermarket chains here to stock only Irish poultry in their stores, following moves by UK supermarkets towards stocking only UK produce.
Alo Mohan, chairman of the IFA’s poultry committee, said UK retailers had been leaning towards a more pro-UK procurement policy since the horse meat crisis, and this was hurting Irish producers.
He said many British retailers had given assurances that they would sell only Scottish chicken in Scotland, Northern Ireland chicken in Northern Ireland and so on. “That means that we are curtailed from those markets,” he said. Yet if there was an oversupply in those markets, he said the surplus supply was sent here.
"We've got Aldi, who've gone 100 per cent Irish chicken and eggs, and SuperValu and Superquinn had committed to it but we don't have the same commitment from the other retailers in Ireland."
He said poultry producers had recently met Tesco Ireland to ask that the supermarket chain only stock Irish produce in its Irish shops but got nowhere.
A spokesman for Tesco Ireland said all fresh beef, pork, lamb and fresh milk sold in Tesco stores was sourced on Irish farms, while all fresh chicken was sourced on the island of Ireland.
“More than half of this originates from producers in the Republic with sourcing from the Republic growing by over 30 per cent in the last year,” he said. “We are committed to growing the sales of chicken produced in the Republic of Ireland.”
Mr Mohan said several poultry processors had closed in recent years, and there were now just 360 commercial poultry farmers in the State – a major reduction in recent years.