Organic growers criticise pressure from retailers


THE DEMAND by multiple retailers for 40 per cent price cuts from organic growers could put many of them out of business, according to the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association.

“If this is enforced by the market power of the multiples, many small organic suppliers will get into financial difficulty,” said the association, which represents about 1,000 farmers.

“No organic producer is making a margin of anything like 40 per cent and the option they face is to supply at a loss or stop dealing with the multiples completely,” said a statement yesterday.

It said in some cases, the multiples represent a major share of their total sales, as was the case with JJ and Dan Ahern, the largest organic poultry producers in the Republic of Ireland.

“They have been informed by the processor of their poultry who supplies the multiples that the multiples are now demanding a 40 per cent price reduction. They are threatening to delist them and import organic chicken if this reduction is not given,” said the statement.

The statement quoted JJ Ahern as saying this would be the death knell for Irish organic poultry in supermarkets.

“The over-concentration within the Irish retail sector which has been allowed to develop means there is a real possibility that a large number of Irish-owned small food businesses will be forced to close down or let go staff,” said Kate Carmody, chairwoman of the association.

She said it was time for Irish people to consider whether they want to support their neighbours in producing quality organic food by their purchasing decisions.

She urged consumers to buy local, Irish, seasonal and organic, and if this type of food was not available in the local supermarket they should bring the matter up with management.