A meeting between the IFA and supermarket giant, Lidl, is the result of the farm group’s 24-hour protests in Monaghan and Cavan.
Poultry farmers acted on Tuesday, January 25th and Wednesday, January 26th, over Lidl’s cut-price promotions on large chickens.
IFA poultry chairman, Andy Boylan, said Ireland must outlaw this kind of “kamikaze behaviour by retailers”.
Discussion surrounding the income crisis at farm level and how retailers can support producers will be top of the agenda for the IFA at next week’s meeting.
IFA leader, Tim Cullinan, said IFA will have a “clear” message for the senior management in Lidl. He said the farm group will tell Lidl that its cut-price promotions are “damaging”.
“Farmers are very frustrated and angry, as evidenced by the protest over the last 24 hours. They are committed to getting an outcome that will recognise the cost pressures they are under,” the farm leader said.
“Selling a 1.9kg chicken for €3.49 disrupts consumer patterns and does have a cost. To suggest otherwise is utterly disingenuous,” he said.
“Some retailers have recognised the very severe income difficulties at the moment. They have increased the price of chicken on the shelf. Yet Lidl pulled the price.”
Sector in jeopardy
Boylan believes the government’s “inaction” on retail legislation has created this situation.
“This race to the bottom will have significant consequences for producers.”
“Unless we have robust regulation of retailers, we will see more and more farmers going to the wall.”
He warned that the entire sector is in jeopardy without an immediate increase in the wholesale retail price to be passed back to egg and chicken producers.
“We produce top quality, Bord Bia QA produce, at prices which are not sustainable.”
“We intend to highlight the absolute necessity to recover our costs from the food chain immediately,” he concluded.
The IFA stressed that the cost of gas, energy, labour, and animal feed have all seen inflation not witnessed by the sector in half a generation.
It said Irish inflation “shot” to a 14-year high in October, which has had a “damaging” effect on the sector.
Vice-chairman of the poultry committee, Brendan Soden, said farmers are “very concerned” about their future as the price has decreased in the past 12 months.
He pointed out that the EU average price for eggs has increased by 13.2% in the past year.